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I-Team: Past Bankruptcy & Citations For Crashed Bus Owner

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Mireya Villarreal
A native Texan, Mireya was born and raised in the Rio Grande Val...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - The CBS 11 I-Team has been digging into the history of Cardinal Coach Line, Inc., its owners and safety regulations.

We found out a few years ago the owner of Cardinal Coach Line changed his name and his company. Investigative Reporter Mireya Villarreal uncovered, up until 2009 Matt Biran went by Mieczyslaw Biran and the first transportation company he owned was actually a limousine service called Agency STS.

The Secretary of State’s website shows Cardinal Coach Line, Inc. is a company registered to Matt and Teresa Biran. The company has only been around since 2007. Inspection reports from the Department of Transportation reveal they’ve only been cited for four minor violations.

“I think you can safely say there weren’t seat belts on this bus,” Brigham McCown, owner of United Transportation Advisors and local attorney, told us.

Federal law doesn’t require bus companies to have seat belts for their passengers. The driver is the only one who has to wear one.

Brigham McCown is a local attorney who used to work with the US Department of Transportation. He says, for nearly ten years there’s been an unsuccessful push to change that law.

“If there’s going to be an accident, how do we mitigate and reduce the consequences? How do we reduce injuries and deaths? Clearly, safety belts aren’t that high tech. It’s simple, you buckle up,” McCown added.

The I-Team also took a closer look at the company’s financial history and found out in 2008 Cardinal Coach Line, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in federal court.

Eventually, the court discharged all their debts, giving the company a fresh start.

But those federal court documents lead us to a limousine company also owned by the couple from 2003 to 2009. Except, this time, Matt Biran used his full name when filing with the Texas Secretary of State, Mieczyslaw Biran.

The I-Team was able to uncover that limousine company was shut down by the state in 2009 for not paying taxes.

The good thing here is every bus company is required to take out a hefty insurance policy. So, as long as cardinal coach line was up to date with that policy, medical bills will be covered.

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