SAN ANTONIO -- A 60-year-old truck driver could face the death penalty after his cargo turned out to be people -- undocumented immigrants smuggled north and baking to death in the back of his 18-wheeler.

Ten people are dead many more remain hospitalized.

James Matthew Bradley Jr., the driver of the 18-wheeler parked at a Southside San Antonio Walmart store over the weekend, is claiming he had no idea dozens of people were dying inside his trailer.

Bradley made his appearance in federal court Monday.

In court documents Bradley claimed when he opened the doors he was surprised, explaining that he was "run over by 'Spanish' people and knocked to the ground."

Bradley also told investigators he "noticed bodies just lying on the floor like meat."

"Our community was faced with a rather significant tragedy this weekend," said San Antonio Fire Department Medical Director Dr. David Miramontes.

Miramontes responded to the scene early Sunday morning.

Authorities believe up to 100 immigrants cramped the semi-truck coming from Laredo -- suffering from heat and no water.

"When your temperature gets in the 106 or 108 range, the body cannot tolerate that kind of heat, and it actually causes brain damage, kidney damage, it activates the coagulation pathway and they literally bleed to death," said Miramontes.

The conditions were so hot people were taking turns breathing out of small holes inside the trailer.

"There was no air movement. They couldn't radiate heat off their bodies. So, basically, they were cooking inside," said Miramontes.

Federal authorities said they are charging Bradley with illegally transporting immigrants.

He faces life in prison or even the death penalty if convicted.


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