On-haul reports: Trucker found hanged in cab, driver shot and killed along I-20 in Texas

Updated May 5, 2019

Several truck drivers have recently been involved in highway incidents, including a driver who was shot and killed along I-20 in Texas, a driver found hanged in his truck and drivers caught with drugs.

Taemon BlairTaemon Blair

An Indiana coroner has refuted social media rumors surrounding the death of a truck driver in Fort Wayne, Indiana. An initial report on March 21 from Allen County Coroner Craig Nelson stated that 21-year-old truck driver Taemon Blair, of Huntersville, North Carolina, committed suicide by hanging in the sleeper of his truck on March 14.

However, Blair’s family and others on social media did not believe the coroner’s report and suspected foul play. This led Nelson to release a separate report detailing the circumstances around Blair’s death.

The report states that Blair was parked at a business in Fort Wayne overnight and an employee at the business attempted to contact Blair at approximately 7:45 a.m. with no response. The employee then tried again around 11:35 a.m., again with no response, and opened the driver’s side door and made noise to try to wake Blair. When this did not work, the coroner states the employee then opened the curtain into the sleeper and found Blair hanging without a pulse.

When authorities arrived, they photographed the scene and conducted interviews before laying Blair’s body down in the sleeper, the report says. A physical exam did not reveal any injuries aside from ligature marks on his neck, according to the report.

The coroner refuted claims that Blair’s hands were bound when he was found, that he had defensive wounds, that the dash of the truck was caved in from kicking and that his leg was broken. The coroner also refuted reports that his neck was severed “from what looks like fish hooks.” Nelson said there are no reported documents or photographs that show any of the rumored injuries.

According to a report by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Fox46, Blair’s mother, Taesha Hunt, received a call from an unnamed Indiana detective who said he believed there was foul play involved. The full report from Fox46 can be seen in the video below:

Brandon Christopher Madrid (Mitchell County, Texas, Jail)Brandon Christopher Madrid (Mitchell County, Texas, Jail)

A California-based truck driver was shot and killed alongside eastbound I-20 near Westbrook, Texas, Thursday, April 18. According to a report from KTXS, his driving partner was wounded in the same incident, which occurred at about 6:50 a.m.

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Texas Rangers arrested the shooter at the scene.

Killed in the incident was 56-year-old Noppol Pantiyanurak. His driving partner was not identified.

Arrested and charged with murder, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is 20-year-old Brandon Christopher Madrid from Odessa. He is being held on $700,000 bond.

Police believe Pantiyanurak pulled his tractor-trailer over after a car began flashing its lights. It appears Pantiyanurak was shot from behind. Police have not suggested a motive for the shootings.

A Department of Public Safety trooper reportedly stopped for what appeared to be a motorist in need of assistance and discovered the shootings.

A Louisiana truck driver was arrested in Texas Tuesday, April 16, after police found 86 pounds of marijuana in his truck.

Carthage (Texas) Police Michael Darnell Tillman, 40, of Monroe, Louisiana, was arrested for possession of between 50 pounds and 2,000 pounds of marijuana and was being held on a $20,000 bond.

The Longview News-Journal reports an officer saw a tractor-trailer off the designated truck route and detected the smell of marijuana coming from the cab, then got a signed consent to search the vehicle. Police said the officer found 86 pounds of what is believed to be marijuana wrapped in bundles inside two trash bags.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 122 wrapped packages of cocaine from a load of steel cable coils at the Calexico port of entry in California on March 30.

When going through the inspection facility, the driver of a tractor-trailer was referred for further inspection and, upon unloading the shipment and cutting open the metal spools holding the rolls of cable, Border Patrol agents found the cocaine.

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