The president of the trucking company whose name is on the tractor trailer says his company sold the truck to a man in Mexico in May.
Brian Pyle of Pyle Transportation Incorporated in Iowa said James Matthew Bradley Jr. was an independent contractor and was supposed to deliver the vehicle to a pickup point in Brownsville over the weekend.
Pyle says he had no idea of any problems with the truck until the media started to call Sunday following reports of the deaths.
"I'm absolutely sorry it happened. I really am. It's shocking," Pyle said outside the company's ramshackle office near the tiny downtown of Schaller, Iowa, a village of 750 in the rural northwestern part of the state.
Brian Pyle, owner of Pyle Transportation Inc., the Iowa trucking company linked to the deadly case of immigrant smuggling in Texas, is interviewed by a television reporter Monday, July 24, 2017, in Schaller, Iowa. (AP Photo/Scott McFetridge)
Pyle showed a reporter a copy of what he said was a bill of sale, dated May 10, which contained no sales price, according to the Associated Press. Pyle declined to identify the purchaser or say where in Brownsville the trailer was to be delivered. The county treasurer's office declined to say whether paperwork transferring the truck's title had been filed.
The Iowa-based trucking company has a history of safety and tax violations, and financial problems, according to public records.
Pyle Transportation Inc. failed to pay federal employment and trucking taxes for years, faced lawsuits from Iowa labor regulators over unpaid wages owed to drivers and has been ordered to pay major penalties for violations of federal safety rules, records show. The IRS and others who say the company owes them money have often found no assets available to garnish.
Pyle refused to discuss his company's prior legal problems, saying the focus should be on issues surrounding the deaths.
"It should be about what happened in Texas and not my company," he said.
Federal records show the company claims 15 drivers and 18 trucks that haul fresh produce, meat, food, paper products and other freight. The company reported logging 830,000 miles in 2013, the latest year for which figures were available. The company and its drivers have repeatedly been cited for safety, vehicle maintenance and record-keeping violations, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data.
Many of the violations have been tied to truckers who didn't get enough rest between shifts — or who kept false reports that suggested they did. Just last month, the company was penalized more than $50,000 over false reports of drivers' work and rest activities. In 2015, it faced a $90,000 penalty for the same infraction.