VAN NUYS, CA - The U.S. Government has closed down Tierra Santa Inc., a Los Angeles-area bus company involved in a crash that killed six people in Arizona on Friday, March 5, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Federal officials said company records revealed that Tierra Santa has averted government regulation, created a poor safety record and operated off the books.
Tierra Santa President Cayetano Martinez has signed a consent decree that acknowledges his company never had federal authorization to transport passengers over state lines, according to court documents released last weekend. U.S. District Judge George King signed the decree, in essence making it an enforceable court order, the Times reported.
However, the company's agreement to halt operations doesn't protect it from potential penalties imposed by the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is conducting an investigation.
One of Tierra Santa's buses was carrying 22 passengers from central Mexico to Los Angeles early Friday, March 5, when it rear-ended a pickup truck in Arizona and rolled down an embankment. The crash occurred on Interstate 10 about 30 miles south of Phoenix. Two men and four women were killed. Sixteen people suffered injuries.
Federal authorities said that documents indicate that Tierra Santa officials knew they were conducting business without federal operating authority.