Feds Shut Down Tennessee Horse Transport Operation

Federal transportation safety authorities have ordered the operators of Three Angels Farms to cease its transportation services on grounds that serious safety violations connected to the firm's vehicles and drivers constitute a public safety hazard. Earlier this year, the Tennessee firm was connected to two serious traffic incidents that collectively claimed the lives of four horses.

On Jan. 16 a truck hauling 38 horses in a single-level trailer owned by Three Angels Farm was traveling westbound along Interstate 40 in Williamson County, Tenn., when the trailer overturned, entirely blocking the road's westbound lanes and shutting down traffic for several hours. Three of the horses died as a result of the accident. The truck's driver, Mance Frank Reed, was later charged with unsafe operation of a vehicle; failure to exercise due care; and driving fatigued. Reed also received citations for brake violations as well as frame and tire violations on the trailer.

Six months later on June 12, Scott York of Smiths Grove, Ky., was traveling on Interstate 440 transporting 37 horses from Three Angels Farm in Lebanon, Tenn., to a Texas location when the floor of the trailer containing the animals collapsed. One horse was humanely euthanized at the scene. York was later charged with operating a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver license, no commercial tag, log book violation, brake violation, defective tires, and unsafe operations.

On June 28, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered Three Angels Farms and its owners, Edwin Dorian Ayache, to immediately cease all transportation services after safety investigators found multiple safety infractions that substantially increased the likelihood of serious injury to the traveling public.

In a written statement, FMCSA spokeswoman Shashunga Clayton said that during the agency's probe, investigators discovered multiple federal violations in hours-of-service compliance, driver qualification requirements, drug and alcohol testing and vehicle maintenance.

Nether Edwin Ayache nor Dorian Ayache were available for comment.

If it violates final order, Three Angels Farms operators could face civil penalties of up to $16,000 per day for each day the company remains non-compliant criminal penalties including a fine of up to $25,000, imprisonment, or a combination of the three if the order violation is determined to be willful.

The Ayaches have 10 days to appeal the FMCSA's decision, the final order said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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