FORMER bullfighter Jose Ortega Cano is believed to have caused a traffic accident in which another driver died and which has left him critical in hospital. According to the initial report carried out by the Guardia Civil, the bullfighter was travelling at an “inadequate speed”, leading him to invade the opposite lane, when the accident occurred at kilometre 28 of the A-8002 road near Sevilla at around 11.30pm.
He was heading back to his property ‘Yerbabuena’, in Castlblanco de los Arroyos, in his Mercedes R320 after dropping his daughter off at a friend’s house, and crashed into a Seat Altea, killing the 45-year-old driver instantly and causing the engine of the other car to come out onto 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 made a call to the Local Police and Guardia Civil citing the vehicle’s registration number, make and model, to alert that it was speeding through the streets.
Ortega Cano had to be extracted from the wreckage of his car and due to the critical condition he was in, it was impossible to perform a breathalyzer 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 condition is still serious, he was sedated and required artificial ventilation, but has opened his eyes. His family reports, however, that he does not appear to recognize them. The family of the deceased driver intends to bring a lawsuit against Ortega Cano if the final report by the Guardia Civil shows that he was guilty of negligent manslaughter.
A judge has requested samples of the blood taken from the bullfighter at the hospital on the night of the accident to determine whether he had been drinking. However, they may not be admitted in court, because the chain of custody has not been respected.
Despite this, the prosecutor’s initial report suggested he was not drunk at the time of the accident. Ortega Cano, 58, retired officially in 1998, although he reappeared on several occasions. However, last year he said his cardiologist had recommended that he stop entirely.
He has had several health problems, including depression, since his wife, singer Rocio Jurado, died in 2005. The couple had married in 1995, and adopted two Colombian children in 1999.