Texas Company Involved in Fatal Bus Fire Fined for Violating Federal Safety Regulations
On January 10, 2007, Global Limo, the bus company involved in a fatal bus fire that killed 23 senior citizens evacuated from a Houston-area nursing home in the path of Hurricane Rita, was ordered to pay $100,000 by a U.S. District Court judge in McAllen, Texas for violating federal motor carrier safety regulations. The company was also placed on 5 years probation. Company owner James Maples was fined $10,000, ordered to serve 6 months at a halfway house, 6 months home confinement and was ordered to seek court approval prior to obtaining work in the transportation industry.
In October 2006, Global Limo and Maples were found guilty following a 7-day trial on charges of failing to properly inspect and maintain its buses. Global was also convicted of conspiracy to falsify driver logs. An OIG-FMCSA investigation following the fire found that Global knowingly conspired with its employees to falsify entries in daily driver logs prepared by Global drivers. Maples and Global failed to comply with FMCSA regulations by not properly inspecting and maintaining buses; operating buses in a condition that would likely cause an accident or breakdown, including operating vehicles without adequate preventive maintenance; and failing to have drivers complete daily vehicle inspection reports. Global Limo was ordered to shut down following a FMCSA compliance review in September 2005 and never reopened for business.