March 8, 2010

FMCSA shuts down rogue operator

Following an emergency request by the U.S. Department of Transportation's (US DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the United States District Court for the Central District of California on Saturday ordered the owner of Tierra Santa Inc., the illegal bus company involved in a March 5 fatal crash near Phoenix, Ariz., to immediately cease all interstate and international passenger service.

The carrier ceased operation on Friday at the demand of FMCSA. Saturday's order makes that shutdown enforceable by the Court.

FMCSA's complaint states that the owner of the bus company, Cayetano Martinez of Los Angeles, had previously been shut down by FMCSA, only to attempt to "reincarnate himself as a new carrier" and unsuccessfully attempted to gain US DOT operating authority under a new name.

"Martinez has shown a persistency and determination to continue operating under new entities and business," the complaint states.

The consent decree also prohibits Martinez, or any affiliated company, "from contracting with or arranging for additional transportation of passengers unless the contracted motor carrier possesses valid operating authority registration from FMCSA."

The consent decree does not absolve Martinez from possible future civil penalties by FMCSA for violations of federal motor carrier safety regulations.

 

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