One of two owners of a Tennessee horse-hauling company will spend a year on probation for her role in violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order.
Theresa Vincent, who owned and operated Terri’s Farm in Murfreesboro, Tenn., was sentenced to 120 months of probation at a hearing in U.S. District Court on Nov. 21. In August, Vincent and another owner-operator, Dorian Ayache, of Three Angels Farms in Lebanon, Tenn., pleaded guilty to violating an imminent hazard order issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Three Angels Farms was declared an imminent hazard to public safety by the FMCSA 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 Farm. FMCSA categorized Terri’s Farm as a “chameleon” carrier and placed it under an imminent hazard order.
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 order, 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.
Ayache’s sentencing hearing has been continued until January 2015.
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