A truck driver has been charged by prosecutors for his alleged part in a fatal incident involving a trailer filled with illegal immigrants that was discoveredin the parking lot of a Walmart in San Antonio, according to a report in The Washington Post.
The incident, which took place on July 22, involved over 100 immigrants trapped in a semi-trailer with no cooling or ventilation while temperatures outside hit triple digits.
The persons inside the trailer banged on the walls and yelled for help, but no help came until after 10 of the occupants had died. Several dozen others were sent to the hospital for their injuries.
The truck and trailer were parked outside of the Walmart for just 30 minutes when a store employee heard someone asking for water from the trailer.
Truck driver James Matthew Bradley Jr., has been charged for his role in the immigrant smuggling operation and could face a sentence as harsh as the death penalty because of the fatalities that occurred.Bradley was driving for Pyle Transportation under a lease contract with the company, according to the news report. Bradley denied knowing that there were people inside the trailer. He told police that he was traveling from Iowa to Brownsville, Texas with the trailer and said he was told to deliver the trailer but wasn’t given a destination address or time frame.
The incident has added fule to the immigration debate in Texas, according to a separate Washington Post report, with proponents of a Texas law that would penalize jurisdictions that don’t comply with immigration authorities blaming the tragedy on the policies of "sanctuary cities." However, immigrant rights advocates blame harsher immigration policies enacted since President Trump came to office, saying that immigrants were using riskier methods to enter the country as a result.