REDWOOD CITY -- The driver of a limousine that burst into flames on the San Mateo Bridge on Saturday, killing five women including a bride, was properly licensed to operate the vehicle, but the limo was supposed to hold only eight people, according to the California Highway Patrol.
That detail was one of the few to emerge Monday at press conference at CHP headquarters in Redwood City. The 1999 Lincoln Town Car became engulfed in flames while going west on Highway 92 across the bridge, trapping five women inside.
Five others, including the driver, escaped.
CHP Capt. Mike Maskarich said the limo falls under the auspices of the Public Utilities Commission and that its capacity was eight people. He also said the investigation is more of a fact-gathering one than a criminal one.
"It's an investigation where we want to make sure we're gathering all information available with relevant sources," he said.
Investigators are not releasing the vehicle identification number at this time, Maskarich said.
Autopsies on all five victims are scheduled for Monday, San Mateo coroner Robert Foucrault said. Medical examiners are expected to need dental records to identify some of the victims.
According to the CHP, three good samaritans, one of them an offduty CHP officer stopped to try to help but were unsuccessful.
A family member has confirmed that the woman celebrating her marriage who died was Neriza Fojas, 31, a registered nurse from Fresno. The names of the rest of the victims had not been released. Five other people inside the limousine survived, including the driver who walked away unhurt. He was identified as 46-year-old Orville Brown of San Jose.
The four surviving women, who were treated for burns and smoke inhalation, were identified as Jasmine Desguia, 34, of San Jose; Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro; Mary G. Guardiano, 42, of Alameda and Nelia Arrellano, 36, of Oakland. The driver was 46-year-old Orville Brown of San Jose.
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Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.