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R.I. halts service to limo fleet

PROVIDENCE -- A state agency has ordered a fleet of limousines pulled off the road after the cars were found to be unregistered and underinsured.

The Division of Public Utilities and Carriers told Douglas Cox, the owner of the six companies, to stop service immediately.

The order could leave the companies' customers stranded this weekend, traditionally a busy one for the limousine rental business.

The six limousine companies are: AAAAA Allison's, A Kasmir, Antique, Chariot, EG Knight, and Symphony, said public utilities spokesman Terry Mercer.

Cox could not be reached Friday by The Providence Journal. According to The Pawtucket Times, the East Providence businessman was out of state.

Mercer said more than 100 limousine companies are licensed with the state. Under a law passed last year, companies operating in Rhode Island must prove to the division they carry $1.5 million worth of insurance on each car in their fleet.

Mercer said that Cox recently passed the "fit, willing, and able" component of the licensing test, and was given 10 days to prove that he carried the required insurance.

Mercer extended that period by a week, but Cox never proved that he carried the insurance and kept doing business.

Mercer said violations of the licensing law are a misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail or a $1,000 fine for each illegal trip.

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