July 29, 2008
A two vehicle accident Monday morning turned out to be a lot more than law enforcement personnel expected.While there were no injuries in the accident, one vehicle turned out to be packed full of illegal immigrants.
While heading north on Highway 16 South just south of FM 1191, Juan Piceno, 28, driving a white Ford 350 pulling a flat-bed trailer, was struck by a black Chrysler sedan driven by Nikki Nantz, 26, who had been traveling in the opposite direction and failed to yield before making a left turn into her driveway. Nantz said she had waited for a semi tractor to pass and turned without seeing Piceno’s vehicle behind it.
Piceno had five passengers in his truck. Nantz’s two children, ages 4 and 5, were in her car. No one was injured.
Young County Sheriff Deputy Patrick Bradford began the investigation and turned it over to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Tres Lattimore when he arrived.
Bradford said it looked to him like Nantz hit the driver’s side axle of the trailer when she turned. Piceno swerved to avoid the impact, spun into the ditch on the east side of the road and his trailer swung around and hit the driver’s side doors of the truck.
Nantz said it looked to her like Piceno was spinning. “As bad as it looked, the impact was not that great,” she said.
When Lattimore arrived, Bradford informed him that Piceno did not have a driver’s license. Lattimore issued a ticket to Nantz for making an illegal turn and one to Piceno for driving without a license.
Piceno was driving a company truck for G.L. Hunt and Company Foundation Repair out of Fort Worth. Lattimore said someone from the company would also be cited for permitting Piceno to drive their truck without a license. Bradford asked Piceno’s five male passengers for identification and when they could not produce any, deputies on the scene transported the six men to Young County Jail to await the arrival of Immigration and Naturalization Services officers from Abilene.
G.L. Hunt and Company was contacted but refused comment. Their Web site states that they do not hire subcontractors.
Sheriff Bryan Walls said Young County detains illegal immigrants until the federal government can pick them up.“If we run across them, we call INS to see if they’ll come pick them up and we detain them until they do,” he said.
Art Torres from the INS office in Abilene said an investigation into the company employing the men would have to come from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Texas Uproar Adds:
"The unique standards and business philosophy that the company employs sets this company apart from its competitors. GL Hunt's employees are experienced construction experts that take pride in the quality of service they provide. All of GL Hunt's contracts are carried out by GL Hunt employees, there are no subcontractors involved. This allows for quality control, ensured compliance with industry standards, and absolute success for both the company and its clients. "