LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Ten people are dead, dozens more are fighting to stay alive after they are found inside a locked tractor trailer.
That was the horrific scene laid out in a federal court filing Monday from men who chronicled their harrowing journey to a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio. Temperatures were in the triple digits and those struggling to stay alive in the blistering heat had no food, water or ventilation except for a small hole in the trailer wall to provide some ventilation. Passengers described how they started taking turns breathing from the hole.
The driver of the 18-wheeler was James Bradley Jr., whose commercial driver's license was suspended months ago. Bradley faces federal charges for smuggling immigr ants for financial gain resulting in death, a charge that could carry the death penalty because it resulted in people dying while in transit.
James Bradley Jr.'s fiancée lives in Louisville. In an exclusive interview with WAVE 3 News, Darnisha Rose stresses this will be the last time she will answer questions about Bradley and what she knew about his trip that ended in the Walmart parking lot.
"I have not heard from him since Sunday morning," Rose said with concern. "He talked to me one time and that was when he first went to jail on Sunday morning."
If Bradley is convicted, the offense is punishable by life imprisonment or death, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release, per the U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
Bradley denied knowing there were people in the trailer and discovered them only when he exited the vehicle to relieve himself. That's when he heard banging and shaking inside the trailer he was to deliver to Brownsville, Texas. He went to open the door and was surprised by what he described as Spanish people running over him knocking him to the ground. When one of the people from the truck approached a Walmart employee for water, that employee called police. Bradley said he attempted to administer aid to those in the truck.
Rose stresses, "I don't know the situation that was in San Antonio or none of that because I wasn't with him. I wish everyone would just leave me alone."
Rose is mother to two teenage children. She does not want the pressure from the media to affect the lives of her children.
"It is so frustrating," Rose said forcefully. "It's so stressful and I don't want to be like that because I don't know nothing."
Bradley is from Florida but his residence is listed in Louisville's Algonquin neighborhood.
"He's always lived in his truck, Rose explained. "He never stayed with me. He just used this address for his doctors."
Bradley lost a leg and is a recent amputee.
"He just got it amputated like two months ago," Rose explained. 'He's doing really good. He's determined. I helped him get his health back together when he got his leg amputated."
Bradley was taken into custody and during questioning, he said he was traveling from Laredo to San Antonio after having the tractor-trailer washed and detailed at a truck stop near Laredo, per the U.S. Attorney's Office. Bradley said he intended to take the trailer to Brownsville to deliver it to someone who had purchased it.
Federal investigators are considering Pyle Transportation, the Iowa company linked to the truck. The company denies knowing anything. The transportation company claims Bradley was an independent contractor.
WAVE 3 News has learned Bradley's commercial driver's license, issued in Florida, had been revoked since April for failure to file an updated medical card.
Rose stressed to WAVE 3 News that she is following television news to get the breaking details in the case against her fiancé.
She said with a sigh, "I haven't talked to him since then. I don't know if he's trying to contact me or not."