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Thread: Wife of driver charged in death of Coats boy defends husband

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    Wife of driver charged in death of Coats boy defends husband

    Wife of driver charged in death of Coats boy defends husband

    By Ali Rockett - The Fayetteville Observer
    SANFORD

    The wife of Fernando Ortiz-Soto says her husband is a good man who didn’t intentionally hit a 12-year-old boarding a school bus on N.C. 27 on Thursday morning.

    Ortiz-Soto remains in jail, charged with felony death by motor vehicle and driving without a license after hitting Adam Kempf, a seventh-grader at Coats-Erwin Middle School, just before 7 a.m. Thursday.

    “I’m very sorry for the boy and his family,” Maria Elba Flores Ortiz said. “But Fernando is a good man. He doesn’t drink, smoke or take drugs. He’s either working or with his family.”

    Flores Ortiz said her husband was on his way to work Thursday morning. He and his brother, Antonio Ortiz-Soto, work together installing tile and carpet. Antonio Ortiz-Soto owns the van Fernando Ortiz-Soto was driving.

    Fernando Ortiz-Soto has been living in the United States since 2000, his wife said, and is in the process of receiving legal immigration status.

    The couple married eight months ago. Ortiz-Soto has two children, a 24-year-old daughter and a 28-year-old son, and several grandchildren.

    “We’ve paid a lot of taxes in this country,” Flores Ortiz said from the living room of their home on Scott Avenue in Sanford. “We’ve had no problems in this country. This is our home.”

    He didn’t see bus’s lights

    Ortiz-Soto had an expired North Carolina license, said Trooper J.B. Harvey of the Highway Patrol.

    “He knows the rules,” Flores Ortiz said. “He knows how to drive. You see a bus with lights, you stop.”

    But Flores Ortiz said her husband told her that the lights on the school bus were not lit as he approached.

    “That is why he didn’t stop,” Flores Ortiz said.

    Harvey said the Highway Patrol interviewed five people including three members of Adam’s family who witnessed the accident.

    “We have five people that saw the lights,” Harvey said.

    He said the stop arm was out and the lights were flashing when he arrived at the scene about 10 to 15 minutes after the accident.

    Harvey said the van was not speeding but did not slow down as it approached the bus.

    The van was going 50 to 55 mph when it hit Adam, who died instantly. The speed limit along N.C. 27 is 55 mph, but it drops to 35 mph just after the Kempfs’ home.

    “Our version of the facts are a little bit different than what is being circulated through the media,” said Chas Post, a Sanford lawyer who represents Fernando Ortiz-Soto. He would not elaborate.

    “It’s a very tragic accident,” Post said. “Mr. Ortiz-Soto is very saddened by this, as is everyone involved. None of this was intended to happen.”

    Flores Ortiz said several media reports about her husband have been inaccurate and that he is being villainized because he is Hispanic.

    “He didn’t murder anyone,” Flores Ortiz said. “It was an accident.”

    Funeral for Adam

    Funeral services for Adam are scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday at Coats Baptist Church. A graveside service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.

    Several readers contacted The Fayetteville Observer on Friday to ask how they could help the family.

    Lewis Bruce of Lumberton said he and his wife have great-grandchildren about Adam’s age who ride a school bus.

    “I just wanted to help if I could,” he said. “It’s not much, but we wanted to do something.”

    Cards or donations can be mailed to Rose & Graham Funeral Home, P.O. Box 157, Coats, NC 27521. The home is at 90 W. Stewart St. in Coats. The phone number is 910-897-7426.

    Checks should be made payable to Rose & Graham Funeral Home and marked for Adam Kempf.


    Wife of driver charged in death of Coats boy defends husband - Crime/Safety - NewsObserver.com




    Last edited by HAPPY2BME; 11-04-2012 at 12:57 PM. Reason: format
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    Super Moderator nomas's Avatar
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    “We have five people that saw the lights,” Harvey said.
    Good enough for me! Who are YOU going to believe, an illegal invader who had no right to be driving? In a hurry to get to his other crime, a job...
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