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