Former Three Angels driver says owner ignored safety hazards - WSMV Channel 4

Former Three Angels driver says owner ignored safety hazards

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The driver who was behind the wheel when a trailer loaded with horses overturned on Interstate 440 in June says that the owner of Three Angels Farms put the trailer on the road four days after it wrecked in Texas, against the advice of his mechanic.

"The man could have had me killed. It could have killed me," Scott York told WSMV in an exclusive interview.

"There was no warning, nothing. It just broke, and down it went," he said.

York said the trailer was mechanically unsafe and that owner Dorian Ayache knew it.

"The sides of it were still buckled from where it had been in the wreck," York said.

York said Ayache told him the trailer was fine to take on a 26-hour road trip to Texas.

"He didn't ask me, he told me I was going to drive it. There was no choice in the matter. It was either that, or pack my stuff and go home," York said.

After that trailer broke in half, federal inspectors documented what shape it had been in - their report mentions brakes that didn't work properly, a rusted frame rails and missing tread on the tires.

On June 29, a few weeks after the trailer collapsed, federal DOT put Three Angels Farms out of service, calling its trucking operation an imminent hazard.

WSMV's Air 4 helicopter flew over Three Angels Farms Wednesday and found it looked just the same as before it was shut down.

York said he believes they're still trucking horses to Texas bound for Mexican slaughterhouses. Legally, Three Angels would be allowed to do that under federal law, as long as they use contract truckers from another company.

York also told WSMV that he witnessed Ayache striking the horses so hard with rods that the rods broke over their heads and said Ayache instructed the drivers to shock the horses with a cattle prod if they couldn't stand up in the trailer.

He also said that Ayache refused to let drivers stop the trucks, as required by law, to give the horses food and water.

"He wanted you to run straight through and let the animals do without food and water for 26 hours, to get them there. Some of them wouldn't even make it." York said many were starving and dehydrated when they arrived in Texas.

"They'd go down, there was no getting them up. They were just done."

Under federal law, drivers are required to stop to rest after 11 hours of driving. York said Ayache taught his drivers to falsify their logs.

York appeared in court Wednesday. He was cited for driving without a CDL and for driving faulty equipment.

He said he's ready to pay his ticket but wonders why nothing much seems to happen to Ayache.

"There's just so many things that he does that is illegal, how he can still be in business, still operating, and still walking our streets, is beyond me," York said.

Channel 4 has contacted Ayache several times for responses to allegations make against him. He instructed reporters from WSMV to stop calling him.

Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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SIDEBAR - Three Angels Horse Farm

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