Driver in horse trailer wreck cited


The driver whose trailer rolled over on I-40 Monday with a load of horses on board has now been charged in that wreck.

The Tennessee Department of Safety says Mance Frank Reed has been cited for unsafe operation of a vehicle and driving fatigued. He is also charged with having problems with his brakes, his frame, and the tires on his trailer.

Monday night, three horses had to be euthanized after Reed's trailer overturned on the interstate in Fairview. He was hauling 36 horses for Three Angels Farms in Lebanon. Reed told the troopers investigating the accident that he had fallen asleep.

Workers at a fuel stop told Channel 4 that Reed came in about three hours before the trip that day. They say the driver told them that earlier in the day, he reported to his boss, Dorian Ayache, that he had had a back procedure that day and didn't feel fit to drive. The workers say Reed told them the owner, Ayache, said if he didn't go, he'd be fired.

Ayache tells Channel 4 that the driver never told him he had a medical problem.

Monday's livestock wreck was the second in three months for Three Angels Farms. In October, a Three Angels truck hauling cattle overturned in Putnam County. The investigating trooper says that 10 head of cattle died in the crash and another three or four had to be euthanized. The driver in that crash also told investigators he fell asleep at the wheel. The case has been referred to the district attorney's office for possible criminal charges. Ayache told Channel 4 he fired the driver after the accident.

We've heard from people all over the country who are concerned about the animals hauled by Three Angels Farms.

Tuesday, Channel 4 reported that the horses in Monday's wreck were headed to Presidio, TX, according to the driver. That's where horses are held in pens until they are exported to slaughterhouses in Mexico.

Dr. Chris Corley was worried about a load of horses he saw last September parked in the hot sun in a day when temperatures were nearing 100 degrees. The open-topped livestock trailer was parked at a truck stop in Lebanon, not far from the company.

"I noticed this big semi that was loaded with about 60 horses that were packed in. It didn't look like they had any water, and it was really irritating, so I videoed it," Corley says. He provided the video to Channel 4. He says the horses had been left in the sun with no tarp or roof on the truck for at least 20 minutes.

Reed, the driver in Monday's horse wreck, had a history of driving violations. His Tennessee driving record shows he had four accidents in the last six years. Two of the wrecks involved injuries.

When Channel 4 asked Ayache why he would hire a driver with a history like that, and he said he did not check Reed's history.

Ayache also told Channel 4 that his company was not responsible for horses that had been reported abandoned in Texas last summer. Ayache told Channel 4 Tuesday that his company does haul horses to the C-4 Cattle Company in Presidio, TX, but he denied that he had any role in leaving animals behind that had been rejected by the company.

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



Nancy Amons is an award-winning member of the News4 I-Team. She has been breaking stories in Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years.

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