updated 1/10/2007 7:18:42 PM ET 2007-01-11T00:18:42

The owner of the bus that exploded and killed 23 people during the Hurricane Rita evacuation in 2005 was sentenced Wednesday to five years of probation on charges of mismanaging his fleet.

As part of his probation, Global Limo Inc. owner James Maples can no longer work for the company or any other bus company. He must spend the first year in a halfway house or home confinement.

The sentence stemmed from a trial about management of the bus fleet and vehicle inspections, not the 2005 explosion itself.

Global Limo was fined $100,000 and placed on probation for five years.

Maples was acquitted Oct. 3 of the most serious charge of conspiring to falsify driver time logs so drivers could work longer than federal law allows. He was convicted on two lesser allegations of poorly managing his fleet and not requiring drivers to fill out vehicle inspection reports.

The dismantled company was convicted of all three charges and faced up to a $500,000 fine on the conspiracy count and a $200,000 fine on each of the other two convictions.

Maples was spared the maximum sentence of two years in prison.

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