Orlando Benitez-Gomez is recovering in the hospital. His family says he has no idea his girlfriend; his brother and his brother's girlfriend are all dead. He is also unaware of the felony DUI charges he could face when he is released. But hospital documents we've obtained seem to indicate alcohol was not a factor in this crash. "He wasn't on drugs. He wasn't drunk."
Cecilia Benitez-Gomez says she and her family are outraged at reports that her 20-year-old brother Orlando was drunk Wednesday when he ran a stop sign at the intersection of American and Fig in Fresno County and collided with another car killing three people.
"We don't need people being mad at him because it was an accident. He didn't do this on purpose."
Orlando's younger brother, 19-year-old Javier Benitez-Gomez, along with Javier's girlfriend, 18-year-old Jessie Bautista, and Orlando's girlfriend, 20-year-old Blanca Gutierrez all died in the crash.
The day after the crash the CHP issued a report showing Orlando as being arrested for felony DUI. But, Cecilia says, this lab test report provided by Community Regional Medical Center, proves he was sober ... citing negative results for both drugs and alcohol. The test was conducted less than an hour after the crash.
Sergeant Ron Dechamplain of the CHP says the investigating officer based his arrest on two factors ... a blown stop sign and a driver they say was combative. "He made the determination at that time that was at least reasonable that the person could have been impaired or might have been impaired, so he placed him under arrest so he could obtain the blood sample. Those results aren't back yet, so we aren't sure."
And while Sergeant Dechamplain maintains his department was following standard procedure ... Orlando Benitez Gomez's family says ... they will fight to clear his name. "We're angry more than surprised because they should get their facts right before they start saying things."
"When you only have a couple of indicators, then you have reasonable suspicious and that's all the law requires," said Sergeant Dechamplain.
CHP officials say the district attorney's office has not filed charges yet. Regardless of the hospital records, they need to wait for the blood results from the Department of Justice to determine how they will proceed with this case.