Spanish-American Woman Dies While Napping in Car between Shifts

Spanish-American Woman Dies While Napping in Car between Shifts


Maria Fernandes new jersey work

A New Jersey woman who worked four jobs, who sometimes “wouldn’t sleep for five days,” according to a co-worker, died while napping between shifts in her car on the side of the road.

Maria Fernandes died in her 2001 Kia Sportage after inhaling carbon monoxide and fumes from an overturned gas container she kept in the car, according to the New York Daily News, RT reported.

The 32-year-old Newark woman pulled into a WAWA convenience store lot in Elizabeth, New Jersey for a nap early Monday. She left the car running. The carbon monoxide and gasoline fumes were the likely cause of death, authorities said.

Fernandes was found dead in the car around eight hours later when EMTs responded to a 911 call of a woman found in a vehicle with closed windows and doors. Emergency workers sensed a strong chemical odor upon entering the vehicle, authorities said.

“This sounds like someone who tried desperately to work and make ends meet, and met with a tragic accident,” Elizabeth police Lt. Daniel Saulnier said, according to

An autopsy this week failed to determine the exact cause of death. Police are awaiting results of toxicology tests, Saulnier said, adding that no foul play is suspected.

Fernandes emigrated to the United States from Portugal. She was beloved by co-workers at the Penn Station Dunkin’ Donuts in Manhattan, who called her a model employee.

“She used to work like three shifts every day,” Parth Patel told “Sometimes she wouldn’t sleep for five days.”

“Fernandes also logged shifts at the chain store’s Linden and Harrison, New Jersey locations,” co-workers said.

“She was a very sweet person. A hardworking person,”said Ravina Ramjit. “She was always joking around with everybody.”

“Police have attempted to contact Fernandes’s sister in Portugal, Saulnier said. Police are also seeking a brother who works as a trucker out-of-state,” he said.

About 7.5 million Americans are working more than one job, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those jobs often leave people short on income compared to full-time work, said Carl Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

“These are folks who would like to work full-time but they can’t find the jobs,” Van Horn said.

“They wind up in these circumstances in which they are exhausted. More commonly it creates just an enormous amount of stress.”

Source: FARS