Local News

Sanford hospital denies police captain's claim

Posted June 2, 2010 6:20 p.m. EDT
Updated June 2, 2010 7:43 p.m. EDT

— Officials at a Sanford hospital on Wednesday denied a local police captain's claims that an emergency room doctor mistakenly pronounced dead a man injured in a weekend wreck.

Sanford police said they stand by their statement.

The dispute stems from a fatal wreck Saturday in which two people were killed and Claudia Baudililo Hernandez was injured.

Hours after the crash, however, police reported Hernandez, 34, had also died. The Sanford Police Department amended the police report on Tuesday and issued a statement that Hernandez is alive.

"Investigating officers were told at Central Carolina Hospital by the attending emergency room doctor that Claudia Hernandez was brain dead and was going to be transported to UNC at Chapel Hill for organ donation," Capt. David Smith wrote in a news release.

The release went on to say that doctors determined Hernandez was not dead when he arrived at UNC.

Doug Doris, Central Carolina's chief executive officer, disputes the version of events, saying Hernandez had a pulse at the emergency room and when an ambulance transported him to UNC.

"He was never pronounced dead," Doris said. "We do not determine brain death in the emergency department ever."

Hernandez, who is listed as Claudia Perez at UNC Hospitals, was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.

Edwin Perez Hernandez and Fermin Patrocinio Perez died at the scene of Saturday's wreck on Jefferson Davis Highway.

Authorities said the truck the three were riding in went off the road, skidded down an embankment and overturned twice before ending up on Douglas Drive.

Police are still looking for the truck's driver, identified as Hugo Alfredo Hernandez. Witnesses told authorities he crawled out of the truck and walked away from the wreck.

Investigators ask that anyone with information about Hugo Hernandez's whereabouts to call the Sanford Police Department at 919-775-8268.