Texas bus owner convicted on some counts

| 10/4/2006

The owner of a South Texas tour bus company was convicted Tuesday, Oct. 3, of failing to properly inspect and maintain his buses, but was acquitted on a charge of helping falsify drivers’ log books.

KRIS-TV reported that Global Limo owner James Maples could face up to two years in prison and more than $1 million in fines – but still called the verdict “a victory.”

One of Maples’ Global Limo buses caught fire near Dallas in September 2005, killing 23 elderly people who were evacuating the path of Hurricane Rita.

But the trial didn’t deal with the bus fire or deaths – only with safety problems that inspectors uncovered at the company after the fire.

Prosecutors said they didn’t file charges in connection with the deadly fire because safety regulations had been suspended at the time so that people could get out of the hurricane’s path.