The 1999 Lincoln Town Car limousine that burst into flames on the San Mateo Bridge Saturday night, killing five women and sending four others to the hospital, belongs to a San Jose businessman who was suspended by the California Public Utilities commission six years ago.
According to documents obtained by NBC Bay Area, the California Public Utility Commission suspended Kultar Singh’s operating authority in May 2007 for failure to maintain adequate insurance and failing to pay quarterly fees.
At that time, Singh did business under the name “San Jose Limousine.”
According to the CPUC, Singh’s current business “Limo Stop Inc.” was appropriately registered and had current insurance on May 4, 2013 when his eight-passenger limousine caught fire as it carried nine friends from Alameda to Foster City for a bridal celebration.
Because there were nine passengers instead of eight, the company may be in legal trouble.
The CPUC is investigating whether the company misrepresented its seating capacity. If it did, the company could be fined $7,500 per day that they were in violation.
Additionally, the CPUC spokesman Christopher Chow told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday, the agency will also investigate whether the company is in violation for what it claims is its fleet on its website.
The website lists vehicles such as 10-passenger limousines, a 20-passenger stretch Hummer and 30-passenger limousine buses which are not included under TCP20509, Limo Stop Inc’s CPUC registration.
Meantime, the California Highway Patrol said on Wednesday that the company is not barred from operating the remaining six vehicles in its fleet. The company employee who answered the phone when NBC Bay Area inquired about reservations said the Limo Stop Inc. is only operating airport transfers.
Owner Kultar Singh directed questions to Sacramento-based attorney Doug Sears who was retained by his insurance carrier. Calls to his office were not returned.
The California Highway Patrol Redwood City anticipates its investigation will take two to three weeks to complete.