Operator of Bus in Fatal Kentucky Crash Given ‘Unsatisfactory’ Rating

July 16, 2007

A tour bus company involved in a fatal highway crash in southern Kentucky last month received an unsatisfactory compliance rating from a federal oversight agency.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration gave C&R Tours, based in Birmingham, Ala., the unsatisfactory rating in a compliance review of company records following the wreck on Interstate 65 north of Bowling Green on June 25. The bus was enroute from Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Alabama.

The bus driver, Abraham Parker, 63, of Birmingham, Ala., and passenger Carrie Walton, 71, were killed and 64 others were injured. Parker apparently dozed off and ran off the road, striking an overpass support, police said.

The compliance review consisted of looking at log books, driver records and a check of the company insurance policies, agency spokeswoman Melissa Mazzella DeLaney said. The review looked at the company’s records from the last year and did not focus solely on the bus involved in the crash, Mazzella Delaney said.

The nature of the violations wasn’t immediately available. Mazzella Delaney said the agency normally doesn’t release the violations until an enforcement case has been concluded. Usually, carriers found in violation of federal safety guidelines are fined, she said.

If the carrier does not address the violations within 45 days of the report, the carrier’s license can be revoked. The company has two vehicles and three drivers, she said.

An investigation by Kentucky State Police showed the bus was overcrowded and had improper registration. There were 66 people on the bus at the time of the crash. The bus has a capacity of 55.

The tags found on the bus involved in the crash actually belonged to a different bus, and expired in 2007, police said. The registration tags that were supposed to be on the bus expired in 2005. Neither the registration issue nor the number of people on board had anything to do with what caused the wreck, police said.

C&R had a satisfactory safety rating when it was last reviewed in March, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A call to C&R on Wednesday was not immediately returned.

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