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Bus service pulled after fatal crash

Mon., Aug. 11, 2008

SHERMAN, Texas – A bus run by the same company linked to a deadly Texas crash and being used by pilgrims heading to the same festival as the 17 victims was pulled out of service because it was unauthorized to operate, officials said Sunday.

The bus was removed from operation in Carthage, Mo., where members of three Vietnamese Catholic congregations in Houston were headed when their bus blew a tire and skidded off the highway, said Debbie Hersman, spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered Iguala BusMex and Angel Tours Inc. to cease commercial operations Sunday, finding that the companies posed an “imminent hazard.” A second order issued to Angel De La Torre, owner and president of the Houston-based companies, finds that his “activities in connection with motor carrier operations pose an ‘imminent hazard’ to the public.”

The bus inspected in Carthage was registered to Iguala BusMex, Hersman said.

The voice-mail system for Angel Tours was full Sunday and not accepting messages.

Pilgrims returning from the Missouri festival stopped at the accident site Sunday, erecting a memorial and saying prayers.

The bus in the Texas crash blew a tire and smashed into a guardrail early Friday at Sherman near the Oklahoma border, killing 12 people at the scene and five others who died at hospitals.

Authorities have also released the driving record of the bus driver, 52-year-old Barrett Wayne Broussard, who remained in critical condition Sunday. Since 2001 he has been cited by police three times – once for driving while intoxicated and twice for speeding.

His license was suspended for nearly two months in 2001 as the result of the DWI conviction in Harris County, Hersman said. His speeding violations came in 2004 and 2007. Broussard has also failed roadside inspections twice in the last year, both times resulting in his vehicle being taken out of service for driver logbook violations.


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