Thursday
April
24
2014
12:36 am
Weather
  Home
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Sports
  Opinion / Letters
  Business
  Arts / Entertainment
  Lifestyle
  Obituaries
  Calendar
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  Classifieds
  DJ Designers
  Archives
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
 
 
 
 

Check out our archive of Dining Guides - Yum!

Report: Limo driver on phone before fatal fire
July 22, 2013, 05:00 AM The Associated Press

REDWOOD CITY — The estranged wife of the Northern California limousine driver who was behind the wheel when a fire in the vehicle killed five women celebrating a wedding said he had been arguing with her on the phone moments before the blaze, according to a newspaper report Sunday.

Rachel “Raquel” Hernandez-Brown said that during their shouting match, Orville Brown turned up the music in the limo so his passengers couldn’t hear the tense conversation.

“The music was really loud. And I kept yelling, ‘I can’t hear you. Turn it down,”’ Hernandez-Brown told the newspaper. “I said, ‘You’re not paying attention.’ You know, like, get off the phone. Stop calling me.”

One of the nine nurses in the vehicle said she banged on the partition to warn the driver that the back of the limo was filling with smoke.

Brown told authorities that he initially misunderstood the warning as a request to smoke a cigarette and kept driving.

Hernandez-Brown, in her first comments about the May 4 vehicle fire, said Brown called moments after getting out of the limo to tell her it was ablaze.

“He was continuously calling me back,” she told the Mercury News. “I said, ‘Well, what made you call me first?’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t know, I didn’t know who else to call.”’

The couple have four children and separated about a month before the fire on the San Mateo Bridge.

Hernandez-Brown called police hours before the blaze to report that Brown had kicked and dented her car during an argument. He had left the scene before police arrived.

“We need to follow up on this,” Karen Guidotti, chief deputy San Mateo County district attorney, told the newspaper when told of its finding.

California High Patrol Capt. Mike Maskarich said Sunday that investigators did interview Hernandez-Brown, but he declined to discuss what she said.

“The matter is still in the review process,” he said, declining to discuss the investigation any further.

The newspaper reported that the CHP was expected to announce the cause of the fire soon, and investigators had focused on friction from the drive shaft.

The nine nurses had hired the 1999 Lincoln Town Car to celebrate the recent wedding of Neriza Fojas, one of the five women who died.

The driver told the newspaper that he was “not authorized to talk to any more reporters, no more interviews.” The Associated Press couldn’t reach Brown on Sunday.

In interviews with media shortly after the fire, Brown said he did “everything he could do” to help save the passengers.

One of the survivors, a sobbing Nelia Arellano, told KGO-TV a few days after the fire that Brown “didn’t do anything” to help the women escape the car. In a May 7 interview, she told NBC Bay Area that Brown was on the phone.

“Open the door. Open the door,” Brown said the women were yelling. “But he didn’t do anything. He was on the phone.”

Brown’s brother, Lewis Brown, an attorney based in Vallejo, denied to NBC Bay Area that the driver was on the phone. Lewis Brown said the women couldn’t see through the closed partition to know whether he was on the phone.

“He was not on the phone,” Lewis Brown told NBC Bay Area on May 7.

Lewis Brown’s voicemail box said it was full and not accepting messages Sunday.

 

 

Tags: brown, phone, hernandez, newspaper, women, before,


Other stories from today:

Suspicious person seen fleeing from scene of East Palo Alto homicide
The long wait for VA compensation
Man killed on Interstate 280 stopped to help crash victims
 

 
Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
 
Return To Archives
 
  


 
 
 
Daily Journal Quick Poll
 
Do you support a land swap between the city of San Carlos and the elementary school district so the Charter Learning Center could be built on North Crestview?

Yes
No
Not sure

 

 
Tabbed Structure - Regular
 
 
 
 
 
 
No shooter, no victim located at Daly City medical center
Daly City police have cleared a building where a possible shooting was reported this afternoon. Pol..
Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
CUPERTINO — Apple plans to buy back an additional $30 billion of its stock, raise its quarterly di..
Facebook 1Q results soar; CFO to step down
NEW YORK — Facebook’s earnings nearly tripled and revenue grew sharply in the first quarter, sur..
South Korea ferry toll hits 156 as search gets tougher
JINDO, South Korea — As the 156th body was pulled from waters where the ferry Sewol sank a week ag..
Michigan man among first in U.S. to get 'bionic eye'
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision. Diagnose..
More >>  
 
 
  
 
  
 
©2014 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Carlos news