Woman Dies While Napping in Car Between Jobs

Maria Fernandes apparently overwhelmed by carbon monoxide, gas fumes

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 29, 2014 7:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – Maria Fernandes pulled into a Wawa parking lot Monday morning to take a nap between jobs—the 32-year-old Newark, NJ, woman had four of them—but she left her car running as she slept. Eight hours later, she was found dead in the car, apparently overwhelmed by carbon monoxide and fumes from a gas can that had overturned, police say. Fernandes, who sometimes finished an overnight shift at 6am and napped in her car before heading to her next shift, kept the gas in her car because she sometimes ran out. She had been saving money, a co-worker says, and had just recently purchased the Kia Sportage in which she died. Before that, she got from job to job via buses and trains, the Star-Ledger reports. Monday was the first day of work she'd ever missed, the New York Daily News reports.

"This sounds like someone who tried desperately to work and make ends meet, and met with a tragic accident," a police lieutenant tells the Star-Ledger. A co-worker agrees, telling the paper, "She used to work like three shifts every day. Sometimes she wouldn't sleep for five days." Authorities were called to the scene at 3:51pm after someone noticed Fernandes in the car, and when emergency workers got inside—all the windows and doors had been closed—they noticed a chemical odor. Though Fernandes' official cause of death has yet to be determined, police do not suspect foul play. (Last year, a teen whose brother left her sleeping in a car before school also died tragically.)

  (Shutterstock)
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