Local limousine company ordered to shut down after fatal interst - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Local limousine company ordered to shut down after fatal interstate crash

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(WKOW) --- The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has ordered Lyons Limousine out of Edgerton to immediately cease all intrastate and interstate operations after a federal investigation.

The investigation according to FMCSA, found the carrier to pose an imminent hazard to public safety.

A Lyons Limousine was involved in an crash on March 25 on Interstate 90 in Elgin, Illinois.  The crash killed 53-year-old Terri L Schmidt of Monona.

Five other passengers were injured in the crash. The passengers were 59-year-old Keven W. Schmidt of Monona, 64-year-old Donald D. Corning of Verona, 61-year-old Lois M Corning of Verona, 53-year-old Robert C. Rosa of Fitchburg, and 45-year-old Michael A. Johnson of Fitchburg.

The driver of the limo, 20-year-old Aaron Nash of Janesville, was also injured in the crash.

The FMCSA investigation found the 20-year-old driver of the limo was against federal regulations that require interstate commercial drivers be at least 21-years-old.  Officials also found that underage driver was driving for the company in at least two other occasions in March 2016.

According to the report, a federal compliance review conducted found the company was in violation of multiple federal safety regulations including: repeatedly using an underage driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, failing to conduct required pre-employment background checks on its drivers, failing to maintain any records of maintenance, and failing to monitor its drivers hours of service to prevent fatigued driving.  

The investigation revealed that the company did not possess safety and operating authority registration or maintain the required levels of public liability insurance.

Officials also say Lyons Limousine failed to conduct required background checks on its two drivers, one of whom was the owner of the company Mary Lyons.

Both drivers were found not to have a valid medical examiner's certificate and both had poor driving records. A medical examiner's certificate is a physical examination to deem a driver qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

The report says Nash has had his personal driver's license suspended in September of 2015 for failure to pay a fine and has been convicted on five separate occasions between April 2012 and June 2015 for: speeding, obstruction of traffic in a property damage crash, following too closely in a property damage crash, failing to obey a traffic sign or signal, and failing to fasten a seat belt.  

Mary Lyons between May 2013 and August 2014 was convicted for failing to fasten a seat belt on one occasion and speeding on two other separate occasions, according to the report.  On September 4, 2013, Mary Lyons’ personal driver’s license had been suspended by the state of Wisconsin for failure to pay a fine.

The FMCSA says during the investigation, the owners Mary and Patrick Lyons, could not produce any records-of-duty status for any drivers, which should have been used to monitor hours of service.  Both drivers had other jobs which should have been considered in work hours when dispatching them. Officials also found that the owners of the company could not produce any vehicle maintenance record or driver vehicle inspection reports.  They also could not produce any evidence that is conducted the required safety inspections of their vehicles.

Officials say all for-hire passenger carriers are required to register with USDOT/FMCSA and file proof of $1.5 million in liability insurance.

According to the report, at the time of the crash, Lyons Limousine had been operating in violation of the federal operating authority registration  requirements for more than three years, their safety registration had been inactivated due to failure to file a required report, and the company did not have any public liability insurance on file.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that:

“Lyons Limousine’s use of unqualified and underage drivers with poor driving records, lack of inspection, repair, and maintenance records, and complete disregard of the hours-of-service regulations substantially increases the likelihood of death or serious harm to drivers, passengers, and the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.” 

Lyons Limousine also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for their violation of the agency’s safety regulations.

The report released says the following on violations:

Violating a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in civil penalties of up to $25,000.  A motor carrier may also be assessed civil penalties of not less than $25,000 for providing transportation requiring registration, including operating in interstate commerce, without federal operating authority and up to $16,000 for operating without a USDOT number registration.

A violation of this order may also result in a criminal penalty, including a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment not to exceed one year.  Further civil and criminal penalties may be assessed for any safety violations discovered after the service of the April 1, 2016 order.

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