FORT MYERS, Fla - A truck driver is coming forward after he was seriously injured driving a company truck.
Steven Ames was behind the wheel of a truck owned by Zurla Trucking Co. when it overturned in Naples last month.
Ames was cited the day of the accident for having faulty breaks, eight bad tires and reckless driving, but he says the trucking company, Zurla, is at fault.
Ames has been driving trucks for nearly 30 years. He wanted to make some extra cash for the holidays, so he picked up a job at Zurla Trucking Co. which is run out of Walsh Truck Center in Fort Myers.
"I was off more than half that time," says Ames. When asked why, Ames replied," because the truck was down or broke."
The morning of December 27th, Ames was driving along Collier Boulevard in Naples when he says his brakes stopped working. He rear ended two cars, seriously injuring himself and two others.
"I told him the day before I did not want to drive the truck. They said the problem was fixed and the problem wasn't fixed," Ames says.
In the two months he worked at Zurla, Ames says the trucks had problems on a daily basis, but the management continued to let the issues slide.
"I'm afraid it's going to happen to a lot more people and I'm sure it has and it's going to continue," says Ames.
We investigated and found four Fort Myers based Zurla Trucking companies registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The one registered to 8790 Laredo Avenue has had 207 road side inspections in the last 24 months. Of those, 111 trucks were deemed "Out of Service" meaning they found one or more violations.
Zurla's "Out of Service" percentage is 53.6 percent, more than double the national average from 2009-2010 which is 20.72 percent.
"There's too much at stake," says Ames. "Someone could lose their life. We almost lost our life."
In 2008, an employee was let go because he refused to drive trucks he thought were not safe. More than two years later, OSHA ordered Zurla Trucking to "reinstate the truck driver discharged for calling attention to safety issues."
Ames has hired a lawyer to help fight his citations and workman's comp. Claims. When the truck overturned, Ames was trapped upside down and now has to see a neurosurgeon.
WINK News reached out to Zurla Trucking and they had no comment on the issue.