A commercial horse hauler from Tennessee has been sentenced to 12 months probation for violating an out-of-service order.
The owner and operator of Terri’s Farm, Theresa Vincent, appeared in U.S. District Court late last month to learn her fate. Vincent’s attorney asked the court for a sentence of not more than six-months — saying her client was a first-time offender, over-50-years-old with health problems.
Vincent pleaded guilty in August to violating an imminent hazard out of service order (IHO) issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Co-defendant Dorian Ayache pleaded guilty to knowingly failing to maintain a current driver’s log. The Three Angels Farm owner and operator received a shut-down order in 2012 from the DOT stating the motor carrier posed an imminent hazard to public safety. The IHO was issued due to Ayache’s “unacceptable safety practices, including his failure to adequately maintain his commercial motor vehicles and his failure to ensure drivers were qualified,” according to authorities. Three Angels Farm had two accidents over an eight month period in 2012 involving poorly maintained vehicles and fatigued drivers, which not only endangered the public, but also resulted in the death of multiple horses. Ayache was cited for those accidents.
Ayache attempted to evade transportation authorities by establishing a reincarnation of Three Angels Farm under the name Terri’s Farms. Both carriers operated the same commercial motor vehicles and transported horses bound for a slaughter yard in Mexico from Lebanon to Presidio, Texas.
In August 2012, FMCSA issued a second IHO against Vincent and Terri’s Farm, ordering them to cease all commercial motor vehicle operations and found that Terri’s Farm was merely a continuation of Three Angels Farm.
Ayache is scheduled for sentencing in January 2015. He could face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.