Long haul truck driver Tyrone Williams is back in the news after a federal appeals court in Houston recently overturned the multiple life sentences without parole this Jamaican immigrant was given back in 2003 in a failed May 2003 human smuggling case that turned deadly. The deadliest human smuggling attempt using heavy haul trucking services in America, 19 illegal immigrants were discovered in a freight trucking unit driven by Tyrone Williams dead from dehydration, overheating and suffocation, after Williams decided to abandon the truck at a truck stop near Victoria, about 100 miles from Houston.
The prosecutors in this case did actually originally go after a death sentence for Tyrone Williams in this case, but the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that William’s crimes didn’t meet the legal criteria for the death penalty. The appeals court also said that a judge, not a jury, should have sentenced Williams on the counts in question. The jury in question had originally decided that Williams should spend life in prison without parole for his crimes, but it appears that after this appeals court ruling, Williams will be going back to court to be re-sentenced by the Houston federal judge who originally presided over his trial.
The trucking industry was probably hoping they had heard the last of Tyrone Williams and the 19 illegal immigrants that unfortunately died during this human smuggling attempt. This kind of affair puts a black stain on the trucking industry in the United States and we need to learn from this unfortunate incident and get beyond it. We also need to make sure we take a look at improving the security measures in place in order to prevent the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the United States on transport trucks and educate truckers on the legal problems associated with this practice.