WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared South Carolina-licensed truck driver Stevie Wolfe Breland to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. The declaration follows his involvement in a fatal crash that occurred last month along Interstate 77 in Chester County, South Carolina. Breland, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, was served the federal order on February 25, 2016.
On February 8, 2016 at approximately 3:10 a.m. EST, a commercial truck operated by Breland struck the rear of a Ford Explorer, causing the vehicle to run off the roadway and overturn, fatally injuring one of the occupants.
After striking the Explorer, Breland fled the scene of the crash. He later discarded the front bumper of his commercial truck before completing the delivery of an intermodal shipping container to Jonesville, North Carolina. The following day, Breland returned to his employer’s terminal in Charleston, South Carolina and reported that his truck had struck a deer; he subsequently had the front bumper of his commercial truck repaired.
A subsequent investigation by South Carolina and FMCSA investigators found that on the day of the fatal crash, Breland had falsified his record-of-duty status to show that he had been in Charleston, when in fact he was in Chester County, South Carolina. On February 11, 2016, South Carolina law enforcement personnel identified Breland as the hit-and-run driver involved in the fatal crash.
While operating a commercial motor vehicle in the preceding eight months, Breland had been involved in two additional crashes. In November 2015, Breland made an improper lane change and struck the rear of a vehicle on Interstate 26 in North Charleston. In July 2015, Breland failed to slow for stopped traffic on Interstate 77 near Mooresville, North Carolina, colliding into the rear of another vehicle.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order states that Breland’s “…continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle substantially increases the likelhood of serious injury or death to you and the motoring public.”
Violating an imminent hazard out-of-service order by a CDL holder may result in civil penalties of up to $2,500 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than 180 days for a first offense. A second offense may result in civil penalties of up to $5,000 and disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for not less than two years. Failure to comply with the provisions of the imminent hazard out-of-service order may also result in criminal charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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