A trucker

Agency or­ders him not to drive, says he didn’t heed fa­tigue-pre­ven­tion rules

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY FAIZ SID­DIQUI

charged in a crash that killed a pop­u­lar Vi­enna, Va., coach in June was de­clared a “pub­lic safety hazard” by in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

The trucker charged with reck­less driv­ing in a June crash that killed a Fair­fax County foot­ball coach has been or­dered off the road af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tors found that he had driven 103 hours over the pre­vi­ous eight days — with min­i­mal breaks — in “egre­gious vi­o­la­tion” of fed­eral work rules, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment.

The Fed­eral Mo­tor Car­rier Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FMCSA), the DOT agency that over­sees com­mer­cial driv­ing, de­clared Carlos Al­berto Gar­cia, of Wood­bridge, a pub­lic safety hazard and or­dered him not to op­er­ate com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles.

Gar­cia, 42, could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

Of­fi­cials said that on June 24, about 3:50 p.m., Gar­cia was driv­ing a large truck on In­ter­state 495 when he veered into a paved me­dian, marked with cau­tion stripes, and struck Leonard A. Schultz and his nephew as they at­tempted to fas­ten a boat to a trailer.

Schultz, 52, of Ashburn, Va., was killed in the crash; he was head foot­ball coach at James Madi­son High School in Vi­enna. Al­bert Schultz IV, his 24-year-old nephew, was in­jured.

Au­thor­i­ties said this week that the crash, which oc­curred at a Spring­field-area in­ter­change known as the Mix­ing Bowl, was the sec­ond Gar­cia had been in­volved in over a 24-hour pe­riod.

The night be­fore, ac­cord­ing to in­ci­dent re­ports pro­vided by fed­eral of­fi­cials, Gar­cia was driv­ing a dif­fer­ent truck when he fell asleep at the wheel and rear-ended a Metrobus in Prince Ge­orge’s County. The bus driver was hos­pi­tal­ized with mi­nor in­juries, the re­ports said. Gar­cia was cited for neg­li­gence in the crash, ac­cord­ing to the re­ports.

That crash oc­curred about 9:30 p.m. in the 3300 block of Pennsy Drive, out­side Metro’s Hy­attsville main­te­nance fa­cil­ity.

It was about 19 hours later, au­thor­i­ties said, that Gar­cia struck Schultz and his nephew in the me­dian on the Cap­i­tal Beltway. Af­ter the Spring­field crash, Vir­ginia State Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors learned Gar­cia had been run­ning afoul of fed­eral pro­vi­sions in­tended to pre­vent fa­tigued driv­ing, fed­eral au­thor­i­ties said.

“Specif­i­cally, at the time of the [ Vir­ginia] crash, Gar­cia had been on-duty and driv­ing for more than 103 hours over the pre­vi­ous eight days — with only a sin­gle 10-hour off-duty pe­riod taken,” the FMCSA said in a re­lease.

Fed­eral hours-of-ser­vice reg­u­la­tions re­quire that com­mer­cial truck­ers take a 10-hour break for every 11 con­sec­u­tive hours driv­ing. Driv­ers also must go off duty for 34 or more hours af­ter driv­ing 60 hours in seven days, or 70 hours in eight days.

Gar­cia’s driv­ing “sub­stan­tially in­creases the like­li­hood of se­ri­ous in­jury or death to you and the mo­tor­ing pub­lic if not dis­con­tin­ued im­me­di­ately,” the FMCSA said.

Fail­ing to abide by the or­der could re­sult in crim­i­nal charges for Gar­cia, FMCSA said. Au­thor­i­ties can also as­sess civil penal­ties of nearly $2,000 for each vi­o­la­tion of the or­der.

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