A California trucking company owner and two employees have been indicted by a federal grand jury following a 2014 gasoline tanker explosion that killed one man and severely injured another.
The indictment charges 59-year-old trucking company owner Carl Bradley Johansson, 43-year-old Enrique “Henry” Garcia, and 66-year-old Donald Cameron Spicer. The indictment also charged the now-defunct Corona-based trucking company National Distribution Services, Inc. (NDSI) and the company that it reportedly became, Wholesale Distribution, Inc., (WDI) after NDSI was shut down by federal authorities. The three men and two trucking companies were all charged with conspiring to violate federal law by causing illegal repairs to be conducted on the cargo tanks and defrauding the United States Department of Transportation. Johansson, Garcia, and NDSI have also been charged for welding without the proper certification. Johansson, Garcia is also charged with making false statements to the FMCSA and DOT.
According to a news release from the Department of Justice, the charges stem from “two years of illegal and unauthorized tanker repairs, culminating with a May 6, 2014 explosion that killed a company welder and severely injured a second worker.”
From the DOJ release:
“After doing in-house repairs on at least a half-dozen cargo tanks – even though NDSI was not certified to conduct such repairs – Johansson and Garcia on May 5, 2014, discussed directing two NDSI workers to conduct welding on a cargo tank. The following day, Garcia issued the orders to the employees, even after one of the welders told Garcia that it was not safe, according to the indictment. The two workers began a welding project on the cargo tank, which caused an explosion that killed one worker and seriously injured the man who had warned Garcia.
Later that day, when investigators arrived at NDSI, Johansson identified himself as being a customer service representative with another company and said the welders were employed by an outside tank-repair company, the indictment alleges. “
Authorities go on to assert that after NDSI was issued an out of service order by the FMCSA in August of 2014 because of safety risks presented by the company’s cargo tanks, “Johansson, at the end of 2014, began a process to convert NDSI to operate under the WDI name … Once Johansson converted the trucking company to WDI, Spicer allegedly filed documents to conceal that fact that WDI was simply a new name for NDSI, and that WDI was continuing to transport gasoline and ethanol in violation of the FMCSA’s Out-of-Service Order.”
Spicer and Johansson will be arraigned in May. A date for Garcia’s arraignment has not yet been set.