Maria Fernandes, 32, of Newark, NJ, worked four jobs, including two at different Dunkin Donuts stores. In between working, she would often park in public lots and catch up on sleep. She kept a can of gasoline in her car because she had occasionally run out of gas in the past during her job commutes.
On Monday, Fernandes pulled into a WaWa convenience store parking lot in Elizabeth, NJ, to nap. Concerned employees called 911. When emergency workers arrived and opened her car door, they were met with a toxic odor. Workers determined that Fernandes was dead and called Hazmat workers to the scene.
Fernandes died from inhaling a fatal mixture of carbon monoxide from her car, which was running, and the can of gasoline that spilled open in the back of her car.
Elizabeth police Lt. Daniel Saulnier told The Star-Ledger of Newark, “This sounds like someone who tried desperately to work and make ends meet, and met with a tragic accident.”
The paper acknowledged that, since the 2008 recession, many people have been forced to take on more than one job, which often leaves them with less income than full-time work once paid.
Police said no foul play was suspected. But paying someone wages so low that she barely has time to sleep, let alone get gas, is quite foul.