The company that operated the tour bus involved in Thursday's crash on the 210 Freeway received three moving violations in 2013: two for speeding and a third for following too close behind another vehicle, according to public records.
The California Highway Patrol says the driver for Da Zhen Travel Agency was cited for making an unsafe lane change in Thursday's crash. It injured more than 50 people.
Wei Weng is the owner of Da Zhen Travel Agency, based in Monterey Park. A public records review indicates he also ran a similarly named company- Da Zhen Bus- that lost its federal motor carrier permit in 2008, just a year after it was granted.
Neither state or federal transportation officials could explain why the permit was revoked, though Department of Transportation records show it was “involuntary.”
Da Zhen Travel Agency – which also goes by the name DTA Enterprises – says on its website that it was founded in 1996. Its nine buses were not involved in any crashes the last two years, which is as far as federal records go back.
But the company is included on a watch list kept by the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Seventy of the 370 legally-operating commercial bus companies in California – about 19 percent – have racked up enough safety violations to appear on the list.
The license plate on the bus involved in Thursday’s crash matches one of a bus that was cited for four violations for unsatisfactory vehicle maintenance after an inspection in November 2012. However, none of the violations were serious enough to take the bus off the road.
Company provides regular service to casino
Da Zhen Travel Agency is one of many operators offering frequent, daily service from various Southern California locations to the San Manuel Casino.
Jacob Coin, Director of Public Affairs at San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, said the casino had no contractual relationship with Da Zhen Travel Agency, though the San Manuel tribal gaming commission ensures that companies such as Da Zhen are up-to-date with licensing and maintenance requirements.
“They can’t be delivering customers to San Manuel unless they’re in full compliance,” said Coin.
Attempts to reach Weng were unsuccessful.
Former drivers say they were underpaid
Two former drivers sued the company late last year in Los Angeles Superior Cout alleging poor working conditions. Their attorney, Shin P. Yang, said in an interview the drivers did not receive proper pay or breaks while driving for the Da Zhen Travel Agency.
View 210 Freeway bus crash, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 in a larger map