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Fleet involved in deadly human smuggling operation issued shutdown order

Pyle Transportation Sign

Pyle Transportation has been effectively shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for various hours-of-service and driver fitness violations. The company’s trailer was used in July’s grisly human smuggling operation in San Antonio that left 10 illegal aliens dead.

Pyle Transportation, the trucking company that owned the trailer involved in the grisly human smuggling operation that left 10 people dead in San Antonio in July, has been effectively shut down by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Schaller, Iowa-based company was placed indefinitely out-of-service Monday by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration following a compliance review that found hours-of-service and driver fitness violations, FMCSA spokesperson Duane DeBruyne confirmed to CCJ Thursday. The company still has the right to appeal the order, DeBruyne added.

Attempts by CCJ to reach Pyle Transportation for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.

Pyle was previously operating under a “conditional” safety rating due to prior violations. After FMCSA conducted the compliance review, the company’s rating was downgraded to “unsatisfactory,” and Pyle was effectively shut down.

According to the company’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability Safety Measurement System public profile, FMCSA found in the compliance review the company had been making, or allowing drivers to make, false reports regarding duty status. In the last two months, the company had several hours-of-service violations including log book violations, drivers driving beyond the 11-hour driving limit and an out-of-service violation for a driver driving beyond the 14-hour on-duty window.

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FMCSA’s compliance review also found a violation in the “driver fitness” BASIC, in which the fleet knowingly allowed, required, permitted or authorized an employee to operate a truck when the driver had a disqualified CDL or had been disqualified from driving a truck. According to SMS data, a driver for the company was placed out of service on June 19 for driving while disqualified.

Owner-operator James Matthew Bradley has been indicted on seven charges related to the discovery of dozens of illegal immigrants in a scorching van trailer in San Antonio in July. A total of 39 undocumented aliens were trapped inside the trailer, and 10 of them were either dead when police found them or later died at a hospital.

Bradley told investigators he was taking the trailer to Brownsville, Texas, for Pyle Transportation to deliver it to someone who had bought it from the 19-truck fleet. The company has not been criminally charged in the smuggling case, but its involvement undoubtedly drew increased scrutiny of its safety record.

Additionally, Bradley had his Florida CDL revoked in April and was operating without a license when the smuggling operation was discovered.

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Matt Cole is an Associate Editor for CCJ and Overdrive. Reach him at mattcole@randallreilly.com.

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