WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal agency has ruled that a Tennessee truck driver involved in a March crash in Maine that killed two motorists is an “imminent threat to public safety.”

The declaration by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration about Randall J. Weddle, 54, means he is barred from operating any commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

Weddle, a commercial driver’s license holder, was served the federal order Wednesday, the same day he appeared in Knox County Unified Court and pleaded not guilty to 15 charges, including two counts of manslaughter that could result in 30 years in prison. The federal agency issued a statement Friday on its action.

Weddle is being held in lieu of $100,000 cash bail, but his court-appointed attorney David Paris said at Wednesday’s court hearing that he may argue for lower bail at Weddle’s next court appearance on Aug. 25.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration stated in its imminent hazard out-of-service order to Weddle that his “blatant disregard of (federal safety regulations) and continued disregard for the safety of the motoring public demonstrated by these actions substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public.”

Weddle’s license was revoked in Virginia after he was convicted of driving under the influence there in 2013. His license also was suspended in Louisiana after he refused to take a sobriety test and failed to pay a reinstatement fee.

Agency spokesman Duane DeBruyne said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issue‎s a handful of such declarations to long-haul commercial drivers each year. In addition, FMCSA takes similar actions each year in shutting down entire truck/bus companies whose continued operation on the nation’s roadways pose an imminent hazard to the motoring public, DeBruyne said speaking from Washington, D.C.

R & E Logistics Inc. of Chuckey, Tennessee, hired Weddle in September 2015, according to company owner Rick Mullenix. He said in a May interview that he was not aware Weddle’s motor vehicle license had been revoked in Virginia and suspended in Louisiana.

Weddle also had three prior OUI convictions.

When asked whether the Tennessee trucking company would face any penalties, DeBruyne declined to comment further except to confirm the investigation is ongoing.

Records maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that, based on records for the last two years through April 29, an average of 20.7 percent of commercial vehicles nationwide are taken out of service after inspections by law enforcement. The rate for R & E Logistics, however, was more than double the average, with 42.9 percent of its vehicles taken out of service after inspections over the same time span, according to the safety administration.

Weddle was driving a 1998 Freightliner loaded with lumber and traveling west near Fitch Road in Washington when the rig veered into the eastbound lane, according to police. The tractor-trailer struck oncoming vehicles, causing the death of two drivers, Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head and Christina Torres-York, 45, of Warren.

Fowles’ 2009 Chevrolet Colorado was the first in a line of eastbound vehicles hit by the truck.

The trailer and load of lumber then struck a 1998 Chrysler van that was behind Fowles and driven by Torres-York. The van was pushed into a nearby field and burst into flames.

A 2014 Nissan driven by Tracy Cook, 51, of Union also was hit by the trailer, and it rolled over once before striking another vehicle that had been following, a 2015 Kia driven by Tracy Morgan, 33, of Washington. Morgan was able to avoid being struck by the trailer after she took evasive action, but not the Nissan as it rolled over. The Nissan and the Kia came to rest in the field to the right.

Morgan was uninjured in the crash. Cook was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

Weddle was brought by LifeFlight helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. He left the state after being treated but was arrested in Virginia on May 6 and waived extradition before being returned to Maine to face charges related to the crash.

A passenger in the Freightliner during the crash, Lowell Babb, 32, of Virginia, was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport and treated for minor injuries. Babb is a relative of Weddle and his being in the vehicle also violated federal trucking regulations, according to officials. The passenger secured the load of lumber with straps while Weddle slept before the truck left the lumber yard in Searsmont.

Maine State Police also found a bottle of Crown Royal Canadian whisky in Weddle’s truck, according to court documents.

An affidavit filed by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to obtain the arrest warrant for Weddle states that his blood-alcohol level was 0.09 when a blood sample was taken from him by an emergency medical services worker at the scene of the crash. A sample taken more than an hour later at Central Maine Medical Center resulted in a blood alcohol level of 0.073. The driver also had hydrocodone in his system, according to the police report.

Under Maine law, a person is considered to be operating under the influence if his or her blood alcohol level is at 0.08 or greater. Federal law states a commercial driver is under the influence if his or her blood alcohol level is 0.04 or greater.

Weddle said he had come from Tennessee and made a delivery in Massachusetts before coming to Maine to pick up lumber in Searsmont. He was heading back to Tennessee to deliver the load when the crash occurred. The criminal charges against him also allege he falsified his logbook about the amount of time he was driving.

Weddle’s truck had been traveling 81 mph shortly before the crash and was operating at 73 mph in a 55 mph when it occurred, according to the affidavit.