Bullfighter Jose Ortega Cano was three times over the alcohol limit

FORMER bullfighter, Jose Ortega Cano, was three times over the legal alcohol limit when he crashed his car into an oncoming vehicle and kill the driver. Ortega Cano is standing trial for negligent manslaughter in the traffic accident in May 2011.

Today (Friday), two expert witnesses said that when his blood was analysed almost three hours after the accident, he was three times over the limit, meaning he had drunk “a considerable amount” of alcohol. He claimed in court that he had not drunk that day, although staff at a hotel where he stopped before the accident also testified that they had seen him drinking.

The public prosecutor and private accusation are asking for four years in prison. More than 30 people will testify in the Sevilla court, most of them against Ortega Cano.

According to the initial report carried out by the Guardia Civil, the bullfighter was driving too fast, leading him to invade the opposite lane, when the accident occurred on the A-8002 near Sevilla.

He was heading back to his property ‘Yerbabuena’, in his Mercedes R320 after dropping his daughter off at a friend’s house, and crashed into a Seat Altea without even attempting to avoid it, killing the 45-year-old driver, Carlos Parra, instantly.

The engine of the Seat was thrown on to the road, where it was hit by another vehicle, the driver of which was unhurt and called the emergency services.

Just an hour earlier, Ortega Cano’s Mercedes had been reported for dangerous driving in the town of Burguillos. A local resident called the Local Police and Guardia Civil citing the vehicle’s registration number, make and model, to alert that it was speeding.

Guardia Civil reports show he was travelling at 125kph in an area where the speed limit was 90kph. Ortega Cano had to be extracted from the wreckage of his car and due to his critical condition, it was impossible to perform a breath test.

He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Virgen Macarena Hospital in Sevilla and underwent surgery for broken bones, internal bleeding and other problems.

His defence claims he was driving normally and didn’t see the approaching car because he became dizzy and lost control of his vehicle. The public prosecutor is asking for €181,000 in compensation while the private accusation wants €500,000 for Carlos Parra’s family.

Ortega Cano, 59, retired officially in 1998, and has had several health problems, including depression, since his wife, singer Rocio Jurado, died in 2005.

By Jennifer Leighfield

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