- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2008

SHERMAN, Texas | The Federal Motor Safety Administration has ordered companies linked to the bus involved in a fatal Texas crash to cease all commercial operations.

The order was issued Sunday to Angel Tours Inc., Iguala Busmex Inc. and their officers. A second order was issued to Angel De La Torre, the president and owner of both companies.

It finds his activities in connection with motor carrier operations to pose an “imminent hazard to the public.”

Iguala BusMex Inc. owns the bus that skidded off a highway early Friday. The crash killed 17 members of a Vietnamese congregation, and several remain seriously injured.

The passengers were traveling to Missouri for a religious festival.

Angel Tours’ voice-mail system was full Sunday and not accepting new messages.

Meanwhile on Sunday, the Rev. Vu Thanh, pastor of the congregation that lost parishioners in a deadly charter bus crash, told churchgoers Sunday that they must accept the tragedy as a “door that God has opened.”

“Do not fight the will of God,” Mr. Thanh said at the Vietnamese Martyr Church. “[People must] live in faith of God.”

The unlicensed bus carrying 55 members of the Catholic group from Houston to Missouri for an annual religious festival smashed into a guardrail and skidded off a highway early Friday near Sherman. Twelve people died at the scene, and five more have died at hospitals. At least eight passengers remained in critical condition on Sunday.

During Sunday’s service, portraits of five victims who were regular attendees at that church were surrounded by flowers at the foot of the pulpit.

The church is holding prayer services for friends and relatives of the crash victims and raising money for costs associated with the crash. Investigators were at the accident site Sunday near the Texas-Oklahoma state line.

Also there was Peter Tran, a close friend of Thuong Tath, who suffered a cracked neck bone and lost his wife in the wreck. He said he was saddened to find remnants of the crash, including packets of longan, a traditional Vietnamese fruit.

“It’s been really, really sad,” Mr. Tran said. “It’s a terrible time. I cried, but everyone cries.”

In June, Iguala BusMex applied for a federal license to operate as a charter but was still awaiting approval, according to online records. The company recently filed incorporation papers, listing the same owner and address as Angel Tours Inc., which was forced by federal regulators to take its vehicles out of interstate service June 23 after an unsatisfactory review.

Neither entity is authorized to operate as a carrier in interstate commerce, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Inspectors also were looking at the mechanical systems of the wrecked bus and examining its interior damage, said Robert Accetta, the National Transportation Safety Board member leading the investigation.

Authorities said the vehicle’s right front tire, which blew out, had been retreaded in violation of safety standards. The bus skidded about 130 feet and struck the guardrail, then traveled nearly 120 feet before coming to rest down an embankment.

One of those in critical condition was the driver, Barrett Wayne Broussard, 52. Authorities said that he had a commercial license but that his medical certification expired in May. Authorities took blood samples from Mr. Broussard on Friday.

Sherman police Lt. Bob Fair declined to comment Sunday on whether any criminal charges would be filed.

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