FMCSA Shuts Down Multiple Carriers Linked to Two Owners After Crash Kills Married Couple
Washington, D.C. — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has shut down multiple carriers linked to two trucking company owners following a deadly crash last year.
On Friday, January 14, FMCSA served a federal out-of-service (OOS) order to West Palm Beach, FL-based Professional Marine Hauler’s LLC and its principals, Claudia Angeligue Abreu and Ariel Martinez, instructing them to immediately cease all interstate and intrastate operations.
The OOS order came after a string of safety issues, which culminated in a fatal crash in Nevada on November 9, 2021.
On that date, a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) owned and operated by Professional Marine ran though a red light at the Interstate 580, Highway 395, Highway 50 intersection in south Carson City and struck multiple vehicles.
According to the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP), the collision separated the CMV from the trailer, and the boat continued through the intersection for “a considerable distance.”
The crash resulted in deaths of husband and wife Don and Tana Powell (ages 74 and 70) and injured nine others.
FMCSA stated Abreu initially denied to the trooper on-scene that the CMV’s driver — 25-year-old Rolando Gonzalez-Otazo — was operating for Professional Marine, but eventually confessed he had in fact been dispatched by her company.
Additionally, Abreu admitted Gonzalez-Otazo did not have the required Commercial Drivers License (CDL) to operate the Ford F-350, which was hauling an oversized boat.
According to NHP, the 44-foot yacht and trailer reportedly weighed approximately 37,000 lbs., but the CMV was rated for a max payload of 21,000 lbs.
The cause of the crash was ultimately determined to be a loss of control due to brake failure, and FMCSA documents reveal none of the trailer’s five axles had working brakes.
FMCSA’s subsequent investigation revealed “egregious levels of non-compliance and a complete failure of the carrier and its owners to implement any aspect of a safety management plan,” the Agency stated.
According to the OOS order, Abreu and/or Martinez have also been linked to numerous trucking and transportation companies, including (but not limited to):
• A&M Marina Service Corp. (issued a Deactivation of USDOT Number notice on October 6, 2021);
• A&W Tow & Transport, Inc.;
• Los Guerreros C Towing; and
• JAM Transportation Towing and Moving Corp. (ordered OOS May 11, 2016)
The Agency said the OOS order applies for all carriers linked to Abreu and/or Martinez.
Further, FMCSA documents claim the trailer involved in the fatal crash was placed OOS on March 24, 2020, following an inspection while it was operating under A&M’s authority.
Then, on December 15, 2020, it was discovered the same trailer and CMV (also operated at the time under A&M) “were found to have many of the same maintenance violations” that would also be involved in the fatal November 2021 crash in Nevada.
Thus, FMCSA declared a pattern of non-compliance in the operation of several of Abreu’s and Martinez’s motor carriers.
“The two company principals showed a total disregard for vehicle maintenance, driver qualifications, controlled substances & alcohol testing, hours of service and oversize/overweight limits for CMVs,” FMCSA stated.
Photos courtesy Nevada Highway Patrol