CHP recommends trucking company in deadly Pittsburg crash to lose license

VALLEJO, Calif. (KTVU) - A Bay Area trucking company whose driver died in a fiery crash in March got failing grade from the CHP.

Now, the agency is recommending the company lose its commercial vehicle permit, which would effectively shut it down.

In the latest surprise CHP inspection of the company on May 11-12, the agency found dozens of violations, including running trucks on the road with broken axles, broken windshields and faulty brakes.

On March 16, Roby Trucking driver Ewell Levy was killed when he lost control of his dump truck and crashed into an empty restaurant in Pittsburg.

While the official report on the cause of the crash hasn't been released yet, the CHP said there are indications bad brakes may have been to blame.

"Several eye witnesses did report the vehicle appeared like it was running away at that time," CHP Officer Daniel Hill, said.

It appears faulty brakes are not an isolated problem for Roby Trucking.

In a surprise inspection of the company last month, the CHP found problems with five of the six trucks in its fleet, including "brakes out of service."

The CHP has inspected Roby Trucking three times since October, and they've failed every inspection.

The end result: the CHP recommended the DMV "suspend or revoke" the company's permit.

"Commercial vehicles are very dangerous if they're not maintained properly," Hill said. "They are heavy vehicles, they carry a lot of weight. If the brakes don't work, if the steering doesn't work, if there's any issue mechanically, that puts everyone around them at risk."

An inspection of the company also found the owners of Roby Trucking did not check the records of two of its drivers before hiring them.

One of those drivers, was Levy, the driver who died in the March crash.

The owners of Roby Trucking weren't around when KTVU visited the company Wednesday afternoon, but one of the drivers, who said he's been employed by the company for six weeks, said he feels safe driving the company's trucks.

When KTVU asked, "So, this isn't the worst company you've worked for?" The driver responded, "Oh no," laughing.

The driver said he's not afraid to drive the trucks. "No, when I find something wrong with it, they fix it."

The DMV is the only agency with the authority to revoke the commercial driving permit, but Hill said the agency usually always follows the CHP's recommendation to revoke or suspend.

It is a two to three week process for the DMV to make its decision. During that time, Roby Trucks will likely still be on the road. Hill urged drivers to be vigilant when sharing the road with those trucks.

According to the CHP inspection report, the agency will also ask the Solano County District Attorney's office to consider filing criminal charges against the owners of the company, for negligence.