Family trucking business sentenced for hauling hazmat without authority

| Thursday, June 16, 2011

A husband and wife trucking business was busted not long ago hauling hazmat loads after being issued an out-of-service order in 2008 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The couple were recently sentenced.

Thomas Watson, 57, and Cathy Watson, 54, of Moultrie, GA, pleaded guilty in February to violating federal hazmat laws.

In late May, both Mr. and Mrs. Watson were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Macon, GA. They were sentenced to three years of probation, fined $5,000 and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment fee.

The couple, who operated TomCat Trucking Inc., of Doerun, GA, admitted to hauling large amounts of hazardous materials between January and July 2009. The shipments were made after the Watsons were ordered out of service in late 2008.

TomCat had been administratively dissolved by the Georgia Secretary of State after the company received an unsatisfactory safety rating, federal prosecutors said.

The couple admitted that between January and July 2009, they used TomCat to transport at least 19 shipments of Telone II, a pesticide, and ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer, in direct violation of federal law, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release. The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General noted that the fertilizer was both flammable and toxic.

Michael J. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in the press release that each of the Watsons faced up to five years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Thomas and Cathy Watson agreed to a sentencing condition banning them from applying for or holding any commercial motor carrier permit for “the duration of their sentences.”

“Continuing criminal violations of this type directly place the public, property and the environment in serious danger of potential exposure to dangerous substances being transported on the public roadways,” Moore said in a statement.

The case was investigated by the U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General and FMCSA.