The company that owned the semi truck involved in smuggling 39 immigrants into the United States earlier this year has been shut down.
The “out-of-service order” was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Monday, October 9th.
Back in July, a Pyle Transportation trailer was discovered parked in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas with 39 illegal immigrants packed inside, 8 of them already dead due to overheating. With outside temperatures reaching 101’ and the refrigeration unit on the trailer broken, 20 people had to be hospitalized, and two of them died while receiving care. Several more are expected to have “irreversible brain damage” due to the excessive, prolonged heat exposure, reported CNN.
According to LMT, The two truck drivers, 60-year-old James “Bear” Bradley Jr., and 47-year-old Pedro Silva-Segura, have since been charged with multiple offenses including conspiring to transport and harbor immigrants who are illegally in the US for personal financial gain. At the time of his arrest, Bradley’s commercial driver’s license had been revoked in Florida for failure to update medical information.
Brian Pyle, the owner of Pyle Transportation, claims he had no knowledge of the smuggling operation and that Pyle Transportation was not involved.
Pyle says he had already sold the tractor trailer to a new owner when the immigrants were discovered inside and that he had hired Bradley to drive the semi truck down to Brownsville, Texas and deliver it to the new owner.
Though Pyle Transportation is not being considered a suspect in the case, the media attention received from the smuggling case caused previous safety violations committed by the company to resurface. Pyle Transportation had been operating on a “conditional” safety rating following the human trafficking incident, but, once the FMCSA put the business under review, it found that “the company’s safety rating was so unsatisfactory that it was unfit to remain in business,” said FMCSA spokesman Duane DeBruyne.
Throughout the FMCSA’s investigation, routine inspections conducted by enforcement officers found Pyle Transportation trucks across the nation, from Utah to Missouri, with multiple safety violations.
During August and September, Pyle Transportation trucks and truck drivers were discovered with overweight loads, brakes and tires requiring serious maintenance, incorrectly logged or completely undocumented hours, and working beyond their allowed hours of service. One Pyle Transportation driver even received a citation after a crash in Texas left his truck seriously damaged.
In the FMCSA’s report, the company was cited for knowingly allowing an employee to drive with a disqualified commercial driver’s license and permitting a driver to make a false report regarding his duty status.
DeBruyne was unable to comment on the specifics of the citations or the findings of the FMCSA. Pyle Transportation was given a 60-day warning prior to being placed out-of-service.
The Pyle family has been in the trucking business since 1950 under several different names. In 2002, Pyle Truck Lines, predecessor to Pyle Transportation, was put out-of-service for failure to pay a fine after its owner, Michael Pyle, pleaded guilty to federal charges of falsifying records. His children then took over the business and Pyle Transportation was formed.
Prior to the out-of-service order, Pyle Transportation employed 18 drivers who frequently hauled meat and produce to and from Texas.