Ithaca, N.Y. — Local police said Tuesday that the owner of the truck that crashed into Simeon’s on the Commons Friday was insured and licensed to operate.
“The State Police have advised me that this carrier’s insurance and transport licenses are all up to date and valid,” said Sgt. John Norman of the Ithaca Police Department. “If they were at one point revoked, which I cannot independently verify at this time, that is no longer their status.”
Ithaca police have identified the truck’s owner as Auto Star Transport Inc., of Spokane, Washington. Officer Jamie Williamson confirmed that name Tuesday. He said that is the information the driver, Viacheslav Grychanyi, provided to police.
However, confusion about the identity of the company remains.
At the scene of the crash, the logo on the door of the truck said “Quality Relocation Services Inc.” Williamson said he was not sure why that name was on the truck.
Additionally, what appears to be Grychanyi’s Facebook page lists him as an employee of Quality Relocation Services, Inc.
It’s relevant for this reason: Records on file in the Corporations Division of the state of Washington’s Secretary of State’s office indicate that Auto Star Transport was dissolved April 21 of this year. It is listed as an “inactive” company. Records on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also list it as “inactive” and indicate its insurance has been “revoked.”
Quality Relocation Services, on the other hand, is listed as an “active” company with insurance on current state and federal records.
In a tragedy of so many dimensions, with death, personal injury and extensive damage to a historic building and the businesses in it, licensing and insurance obviously loom large.
There appears to be some overlap between the two companies.
An official in Washington state’s Corporations Division said Monday that Auto Star’s status was changed to “inactive” in March after the company failed to file an annual report as required. Subsequently, a company official voluntarily dissolved the firm effective April 21. “He indicated it was their intention to shut the business down,” the official said.
The Auto Star officer whose name was listed on the state documents changing the status was Dmitriy Zhelez. That is also the name listed on corporation documents for Quality Relocation Services Inc. in the Secretary of State’s office in Washington.
A man who answered the phone at the number on file with Zhelez’s name refused to answer any questions about the companies Monday, and refused even to confirm that he was Zhelez.