Briefly: Trucker is apparent victim of record St. Louis area flooding

Police car lights

A truck driver appears to be one of two victims who died in severe flooding in the St. Louis area earlier this week.

KSDK-TV reports a man's body was found Wednesday along Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County. Police also said his tractor-trailer was discovered empty Wednesday morning. They say it appears the rig was submerged by flooding caused by storms that dumped some 9 inches of rain across the area.

According to Hazlewood police, there were no obvious signs of foul play, and the man was taken to the St. Louis County Medical Office for an autopsy.

The National Weather Service said, "This rainfall event was the most prolific one the St. Louis metropolitan area has seen since records began in 1874. Roughly 25% of our normal yearly rainfall fell in about 12 hours, and the highest 6-hour total (7.68") surpassed the normal amount of rain for the months of July and August combined." 

2 indicted in connection with deadly human smuggling incident

A federal grand jury in San Antonio returned an indictment last week against two men charged in the fatal human smuggling operation involving a tractor-trailer incident that occurred June 27, resulting in the death of 50 adults and three children and injuring 10 adults and one child.

Homero Zamorano Jr., 46, of Pasadena, Texas, and Christian Martinez, 28, of Palestine, Texas, are charged in a federal indictment with one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death; one count of transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death; one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; and one count of transportation of illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy.

Upon conviction, the charges for conspiracy to transport and transport resulting in death carry a maximum penalty of life in prison or the death penalty. The Attorney General will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later time. Should the Attorney General determine that the circumstances of the offense warrant that a sentence of death is justified, the law requires that notice be filed with the court at a reasonable time before trial. 

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The defendants face up to 20 years in prison for the transporting resulting in serious bodily injury charges. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.


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