Fatal crash leads to imminent hazard declaration for S.C. trucker

By Land Line staff | Thursday, March 17, 2016

Less than a month after Stevie Wolfe Breland was charged with a hit-and-run involving a fatality crash, the 58-year-old South Carolina truck driver was declared an imminent hazard to public safety by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Breland has been ordered by the FMCSA not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

The federal order was served Feb. 25, which was just weeks after Breland was involved in a crash that killed one person.

According to the FMCSA, a truck operated by Breland struck the rear of a Ford Explorer on the morning of Feb. 8. The collision led the Explorer to run off the roadway and overturn, fatally injuring a passenger.

“After striking the Explorer, Breland fled the scene of the crash,” an FMCSA press release said.

The release said Breland later discarded the front bumper of his truck before completing the delivery of an intermodal shipping container to Jonesville, N.C. The following day, Breland returned to his employer’s terminal in Charleston, S.C., and reported his truck had struck a deer.

An investigation by South Carolina and the FMCSA found that on the day of the fatal crash, Breland had falsified his record-of-duty status to show he had been in Charleston when he was in Chester County, S.C., instead. South Carolina law enforcement identified Breland as the hit-and-run driver involved in the fatal crash on Feb. 11.

While operating a commercial motor vehicle in the preceding eight months, Breland had been involved in two additional crashes, FMCSA said. In November 2015, Breland made an improper lane change and struck the rear of a vehicle on Interstate 26 in North Charleston. In July 2015, Breland failed to slow for stopped traffic on Interstate 77 near Mooresville, N.C., colliding into the rear of another vehicle.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Breland’s “continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public.”

Violation of the order may result in penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for no less than two years. Failure to comply with the provisions may also result in criminal charges by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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