At the law firm of Theodoros & Rooth, we pay close attention to trucking accidents caused by the irresponsibility of others – whether it be a careless driver or when the trucking company is guilty of not adhering to safety regulations.
But when an unsafe truck is also found to be carrying victims of human trafficking, we find that to be especially egregious. You may have heard this story.
Dozens of immigrants were found packed inside a semitrailer in July outside a San Antonio Walmart. Eight people were found dead inside, and two more died after being hospitalized. The drivers of the truck are charged with several offenses, including conspiring to transport and harbor immigrants who are illegally in the U.S. for financial gain.
The crime of human trafficking is much more serious than most people realize. It is modern day slavery. The U.S. Justice Department estimates that 14,500–17,500 people are trafficked into the country every year. Unfortunately, despite every level of law enforcement looking for ways to eliminate this crime, including the FBI, this horrendous situation keeps growing.
Federal safety regulators have now shut down the Iowa trucking company that owned the semitrailer.
“Pyle Transportation was placed under an ‘out-of-service order’ by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration after a review found the company’s safety rating was so unsatisfactory that it was unfit to remain in business,” agency spokesman Duane DeBruyne confirmed to The Associated Press.
The owner of the company has told officials that he was not aware of the alleged smuggling conspiracy. At the same time, the driver denied knowing anyone was inside the trailer, and only became aware when he stopped the truck and heard the pleas of at least 39 people that were packed inside. The trailer’s cooling system was broken and occupants say they fought to breathe and tried in vain to get the trailer to stop as it headed north in 100-degree heat.
While the company itself has not been directly implicated in the case, it drew attention to Pyle’s history of safety violations and failure to pay taxes and wages owed to some drivers. Several former employees said they were pressured to drive too many hours without rest, to falsify their logs to conceal those violations, and to transport overweight loads on unrealistic deadlines.
Even if the Pyle company and the driver are right in their claims that they knew nothing about their human cargo, the long string of allegations against the company for operating unsafe semi-trailers tells us this company should have been put out of business a long time ago.
Major truck accidents caused by negligence happen far too often in the United States. One of the most dangerous corridors is I-65 from Chicago through Northwest Indiana and continuing further south. It is our mission at Theodoros & Rooth to represent those who have been seriously injured or killed at the hands of a semi-truck.
The attorneys at Theodoros & Rooth have decades of experience in litigating personal injury accidents. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident, give us a call immediately. If we believe you have a case, we will aggressively represent you throughout your case. The initial consultation is always free, and there is never a charge for attorney fees unless we win your case.