Limo company ordered shut down after violations found following fatal crash

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- A limousine service has been ordered by the feds to shut down following a deadly accident on I-90 in Elgin.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says the driver of the limousine was too young to be operating that vehicle. And he was also driving on a suspended license.

It was supposed to be a routine drive from Wisconsin to O'Hare, the start of a Mexican vacation for three couples from the Madison area. But it ended with their limo flipped over on I-90 near Elgin, killing 53-year-old Terri Schmidt and seriously injuring the others.

The driver at the time told authorities the sun had blinded him.

But the U.S. Department of Transportation now says he never should have been driving, citing a litany of violations in the order shutting down the operator, Lyons Limousine of Edgerton, Wisconsin.

First, the driver's age: He was 20, which is legal in Wisconsin for operating a commercial vehicle. But federal law required he be 21 to cross state lines.

The DOT also found that the operator, Lyons, repeatedly failed to conduct pre-employment background checks of drivers, failed to keep maintenance records and monitor hours behind the wheel to prevent driver fatigue.

But perhaps most startling, records show the driver involved in the March 25 crash had his personal driver's license suspended by the state of Wisconsin more than six months before the incident.

Previous violations include speeding, obstruction of traffic, following too closely, failure to obey a traffic sign or signal and failure to use a seatbelt.

The company by law was required to carry $1.5 million in liability insurance. But at the time of the crash, the DOT says, Lyons carried none.

According to the DOT, Lyons Limousine employs two drivers. The other driver is a co-owner of the business, and records show her personal driver's license was suspended two and a half years ago. We left a message for Lyons' owners but did not hear back.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.