The estranged wife of the limo driver who was behind the wheel when the vehicle became engulfed in a massive blaze earlier this year has spoken publicly about her husband's actions and state of mind just before the tragic incident. She told a local news station that they were arguing on the phone just prior to the May 4 fire that killed five passengers in the stretch limousine traveling on the San Mateo Bridge in Northern California.
The woman claims that their argument on the phone followed a volatile day in which police were called to a store parking lot when her husband kicked her car during a fight. She says that he turned up the music in the limo so that the passengers would not hear him talking on his cell phone.
The woman's contentions about the loud music and her husband's distraction with their argument back up surviving passengers' assertion that the driver was on the phone, and ignored their screams for help as they pounded on the partition when they first saw smoke. In just minutes, the vehicle was consumed in flames. The five people killed in the crash included a new bride and four of her friends having a celebratory night out. Four other women survived the fire.
The limo driver's attorney has denied that his client was on the phone at the time the fire began. The driver has said that he did not react more quickly because he thought the women were asking if they could smoke when they were telling him that smoke that was filling the passenger section of the limo. He has blamed a language barrier with the women for his failure to pull over and help them out more quickly.
The San Mateo County District Attorney's office says they will talk with the driver's wife about her allegations. The incident is still under investigation. Anyone who has been injured in a car accident or other vehicular incident should contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury law to help ensure that a thorough investigation is done, and that the person at fault is held legally and financially responsible.
Source: NBCBayArea.com, "Limo Fire: Estranged Wife Says Driver Was on Phone" NBC Bay Area Staff, Jul. 22, 2013