L.A. Operator Involved In Fatal Bus Crash Shut Down By Feds

Posted on March 10, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

PHOENIX — The Los Angeles charter bus company that was involved in the March 5 fatal collision that left six people dead and 16 others injured has been shut down by federal investigators after records provided strong evidence that the company has failed to comply with government regulations, boasts a poor safety record, and has been operating off the books, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.

As previously reported, a Tierra Santa Tours Inc. 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. border. 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.


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