Top Stories: At Least Nine Dead In Apparent Human Smuggling Tragedy in San Antonio | KERA News

Top Stories: At Least Nine Dead In Apparent Human Smuggling Tragedy in San Antonio

Jul 24, 2017

The top local stories this morning from KERA News:

Homeland security has taken over the investigation into what police in San Antonio believe was a case of human smuggling. Nine people are now dead after they were found in a sweltering semi-trailer outside a Walmart Sunday.

Thirty others found inside the trailer suffered from heat-related illnesses and were rushed to nearby hospitals.

“Each one of them had heart rates over 130 beats per minute. They were very hot to the touch,” said San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood. “These people were in that trailer without any signs of any type of water, so you’re looking at a lot of heat stroke, a lot of dehydration.”

The high temperature over the weekend was 100 with the heat index as high as 106. At midnight Sunday, the city’s temperature was 85 degrees. In just a normal vehicle with no air conditioning, the temperature can rise 35 degrees in 30 minutes.

“This is just the sad truth we have to face when in a situation where people are trying to seek a better life and are treated as cargo,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

The driver of the semi-trailer, James Mathew Bradley, Jr., of Florida, is in federal custody and will be charged Monday.  

At a candlelight vigil Sunday, immigrant rights activists criticized the San Antonio Police Department for involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement. San Antonio Councilman Rey Saldaña  said investigating cases of suspected human smuggling will involve several agencies – including ICE.

“I think the community needs to know, everybody who is advocating for the human aspect of the people involved, that these people are treated as victims,” Saldaña said.

The Mexican Consulate in San Antonio says it will help families who want to send bodies of the deceased back to Mexico, as well as provide legal assistance to those who want to follow up a case in the U.S.

Other stories this morning:

  • Over the weekend, members of the Texas Senate heard details about a bill that would make it illegal for Texas cities and towns to regulate the removal of trees from private property. KUT’s Mose Buchele reports that representatives from towns across the state came out in defense of the local rules.
  • We consume a lot of potatoes in a lot of ways – some healthy, some not. It all depends on how you prepare them. As part of KERA’s weekly Vital Signs series, Sam Baker talked about the pros and cons of potatoes with Melissa Mendez, a registered dietitian with Parkland Hospital System.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.