The owner of a coal trucking company in Big Stone Gap was ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines and sentenced to home detention for providing advance notice of safety inspections, according to a press release.
Hillis Bresee, 63, Pennington Gap, received three months of home confinement as part of a three year probation sentence. Bresee Trucking was also sentenced to three years probation, and both the company and owner must pay $300,000 in civil penalties, $70,000 in restitution to two former employees and fines of $5,000.
Payments must be completed within one year.
Bresee previously pled guilty to violating the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act by giving advance notice of safety inspections and failing to ensure adequate inspections of coal haul tractor-trailers, including braking systems, the release stated.
The sentence was handed down Monday in United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abindgon.
“Mining companies and their owners and operators must know that providing advance warning of the presence of safety inspectors who visit mining operations will not be tolerated,” United States Attorney John Fishwick said in the release. “This case also demonstrates the need for mining companies to maintain adequate safety inspection records, maintain safety systems on equipment, and comply fully with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act.”
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Norton Office of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Jayne prosecuted the criminal case for the United States. The civil proceedings were handled by J. Matthew McCracken of the United States Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor.