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Illegals' rig ride ends in Bandera

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Law enforcement officials with the City of Bandera and the Bandera County Sheriff's Office recently detained two illegal aliens who had apparently traveled from South Texas huddled on top of an 18-wheeler cab.

According to Deputy Marshal Scott MacNaughton, Bandera County emergency dispatch received a first call from a long-haul driver, voicing his suspicions about possible unauthorized passengers at 4:38 pm, Monday, Sept. 10. That call, possibly initiated close to the Medina-Bandera county line was disconnected, however.

When the driver called 9-1-1 a second time, he indicated he was passing Alkek Elementary School on Highway 173 South and then the intersection of Highways 173 and 16. At that point, the emergency dispatch operator advised the driver to pull over on Main Street. Fortuitously, the driver immediately stopped the semi in front of the Bandera County Courthouse.

The driver, who was from Louisiana, was carrying a load of pallets.

After monitoring the exchanges on a scanner, City Marshal Charlie Hicks and MacNaughton arrived at the scene, along with BCSO Cpl. DJ Knowlin and Deputy Carlos Reyes.

As MacNaughton crossed Main Street, he saw two people attempting to flee toward Hackberry Street. "I didn't know what I might be facing, so I ordered them to stop, put their hands up and face the wall," MacNaughton said in an interview. "They complied immediately."

It was quickly ascertained that, during their journey, the Mexican nationals had been hidden in a gap created by a wind spoiler on top of the semi's cab. According to MacNaughton, the driver's last stop had been in Laredo, but he had also made stops in Pharr and McAllen.

"After hearing a banging noise on the roof of his cab, the driver called 9-1-1. He said the banging sounded deliberate like the people might have been trying to get him to stop," MacNaughton said. "The driver didn't want to stop along the road, so he waited until he got to Bandera."

After the couple's apprehension, local authorities notified border patrol agents in Uvalde. Hicks and MacNaughton detained the married couple at the marshal's office until agents with Immigration and Naturalization Services arrived approximately 45 minutes later to take them into custody. The couple will be deported back to Mexico.

"They were unhurt, but really thirsty," MacNaughton said. "Of course, there was a language barrier, but the couple explained they were trying to get to Michigan to find work. Apparently, they had crossed the desert to get into Texas. They were nice people and extremely cooperative."

This was Hicks' third encounter with this type of incident. "One was in Kerr County, but nothing came of it. When we stopped another truck in Kendall County, illegals shot out everywhere. You have to wonder about what's going on in Mexico when good people will try something like this to find work."

Pictured: Photo by Judith Pannebaker
"This was a strange way to end the day," said Bandera City Marshal Charlie Hicks Monday, Sept. 10, as he and Deputy Marshal Scott MacNaughton conferred with Cpl. DJ Knowlin and Deputy Carlos Reyes of the Bandera County Sheriff's Office regarding two unidentified illegal aliens who had hitched a ride from South Texas to Bandera on an 18-wheeler rig.

Courtesy photo
A married couple from Mexico, who apparently entered the country illegally, made it from South Texas to Bandera by hiding under this cab's wind spoiler.