The owners of a Tennessee trucking company have pleaded guilty to violating an imminent hazard order in U.S. District Court.
Dorian Ayache, owner and operator of Three Angels Farms, of Lebanon, and Theresa Vincent, owner and operator of Terri’s Farm, Murfreesboro, entered their guilty pleas on Aug. 19.
Three Angels Farms was declared an imminent hazard to public safety by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in June of 2012. At that time the agency issued the order requiring Ayache to cease all commercial vehicle operations, due to unacceptable safety practices, including failure to adequately maintain commercial vehicles and failure to ensure drivers were qualified. He was also cited for accidents that occurred in January and June 2012, which resulted in fatal injuries to horses.
The criminal violation occurred when Ayache continued his commercial operations under the name and authority of Terri’s Farms. FMCSA categorized Terri’s Farm as a “chameleon” carrier and placed it under an imminent hazard order.
Ayache also concealed and attempted to destroy emails, and Vincent made false statements while testifying before a grand jury regarding her communications with Ayache during the investigation.
Ayache and Vincent were indicted by a grand jury in September 2013.
According to court documents, Ayache was accused of selling or transferring truck and trailers belonging to Three Angels Farms, contrary to the provisions in the imminent hazard oder, to Vincent, owner of Terri’s Farm. Ayache then drove for Terri’s Farm.
The indictment claims that Ayache tried to conceal and destroy emails to Vincent. She is accused of making false statements while testifying before the grand jury regarding her communication with Ayache.
In January 2012, a Three Angels Farms driver fell asleep behind the wheel, veered off the right side of the road and lost control. The trailer carrying 38 horses overturned and three of the horses died. The driver claimed he had been working all night at the farm and only had 30 minutes of rest in a 24-hour period, according to the imminent hazard order issued by FMCSA.
Six months later the company was involved in another wreck in which a trailer carrying 36 horses collapsed and snapped in half. One horse had to be euthanized. The investigating agency found that the driver of the truck did not have a valid CDL and the second driver in the vehicle had only a suspended CDL.
Land Line Staff Writer Clarissa Hawes contributed to this report.
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