Houston business accused of faking 18-wheeler safety inspections

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The shop on Pearl Street in east Houston is closed now. The door is locked. Nobody answered. Not after Monday's warrant, when three men were arrested and charged with felonies for faking DOT inspections on 18-wheelers. They are Aaron Wiggins, Joe Wiggins and Steven Ball.

"They were fraudulently inspecting these vehicles," said Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman. "They weren't doing the correct inspections on them and then they were forging government documents saying they passed state inspection when they did not."

A DOT inspection has more than 100 checks. We're told they take from 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

Deputies say they observed this shop do 122 of them in two days. State records show they did more than 7,200 in the last year.

"If the brakes go out on you or you fail a set of brakes, what kind of havoc can that create?" asked Ray Moon, owner of Ford Doctors Automotive.

He doesn't do DOT inspections but is familiar with the process and says he's not surprised somebody is alleged to have done fake inspections.

"Very few state inspection places do all the inspections they're supposed to do," said Moon.

With the thousands of 18-wheelers on the roads every day in Houston, there is no telling how many of them have safety issues or, possibly even worse, are on the road with a legitimate inspection sticker they didn't rightfully earn.

Last summer DPS did a three-day safety check on Texas roads. It included close to 8,000 18-wheelers, buses and other commercial vehicles. Twenty-four percent checked had safety violations. That's nearly one in four checked. There were 1,200 citations and 18,000 warnings.

In the case against the east side business, Herman said there could be more charges coming.
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