Federal officials shut down the Los Angeles charter bus company that was involved in last week’s crash that left six dead and sixteen others injured just outside of Phoenix.
Federal investigators shut down Tierra Santa Tours Inc. when records provided damning evidence that the company has failed to comply with government regulations, boasts a poor safety record, and has been operating off the books for some time now.
The accident happened last week when a bus was on its way to Los Angeles, from Zacatecas, Mexico when the bus slammed into the back of a Ford F-150 on I-10 near Phoenix, causing the bus to roll down an embankment. Six of the 22 passengers were killed, while 16 others sustained injuries.
The president of Terra Santa Inc., Cayetano Martinez, signed a consent decree, which acknowledges that his tour company has never obtained federal authorization, which is required when transporting passengers over the U.S. boarder.
The federal authorization was designed to ensure that bus companies maintain their vehicles, and test their drivers for drugs and alcohol, in addition to other requirements that they must adhere to.
According to documents and federal officials, Tierra Santa officials were fully aware that they were doing business without federal operating authority at the time of the crash.
In April 2009, the tour company applied for official authorization, but didn’t heed request for more information, which led to a denial of their application.
The owner of Tierra Santa has reportedly been previously shut down by federal authorities, but somehow managed to “reincarnate himself as a new carrier.”
Investigators are now looking into how the bus company continued to operate the bus runs from Mexico to California despite numerous issues with inspectors and less than acceptable safety reviews. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is investigating the accident.
This post was intended to provide general information only and is not intended as specific legal advice. You should not rely upon this information alone, but should consult legal counsel regarding the application of the laws and regulations discussed and as applied to your specific case or circumstance.