CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz called up Marilyn King, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of San Francisco, California Bay area-based weekly Philippines Today at 2 p.m., April 2, to follow up on the press release for Alveo Land, an Ayala Land Company, saying, “Tita (informal equivalent of aunt in Filipino). We are so tired, we only have one hour of sleep. We are now here in Florida.”
King advised Ortiz, “Ok, you better rest, don’t drive anymore. That’s dangerous.”
Apparently, Ortiz, 33, a U.S. citizen and workaholic International Sales Director for Ayala’s Alveo Land, did not take King’s advice and still drove around Miami area to attend a basketball game that night.
At past midnight at 1 a.m., Ortiz was one of the four fatalities on board a Kia minivan that crashed head on with a Chevy Suburban SUV “traveling the wrong way” at Interstate I-95 on the Miami-Dade side of the county boundary line.
“Not in my wildest dream that he (Ortiz) will be gone in less than 12 hours,” a grieving King told this reporter. “We always check on these kids every now and then to find out how are they doing. It was a very close relationship with this group. They come always to Philippines Today whenever they are in the Bay Area because they have no place to go when they want to have a meeting. They always stay at the Philippines Today conference room, doing all the works that they need to be done.”
Aside from Ortiz, the other fatality is Ortiz’ subordinate associate with Alveo Land, Lily Marie Azarcon (Tuason), 26, a single mother of an eight-year-old child, who lives in the Philippines. Also killed were Azarcon (Tuason)’s friend, Albertson Anthony Almase, 31, a Petty Officer 2nd Class of the U.S. Navy, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Almase’s sister, Kristina, 26, a former resident of Cebu in the Philippines, who just relocated to Fort Lauderdale.
It would have been worse if Ortiz’s three other members of his party joined him and Marie to watch the basketball game.
King said Ortiz’ group of five was supposed to join to watch the basketball game. But the three decided to stay to take a rest in their hotel rooms since they were just done with their sales presentations and were tired. So only Dennis and Marie decided to go with Marie’s friends (Albertson and Kristina).
Ortiz’s group has been making sales presentations for condominium units of Alveo Land for Filipino Americans in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Nevada, King said. “I think Miami was their last stop over and then, they will be back to San Francisco.”
HAS KNOWLEDGE OF U.S. MARKET CONDITIONS
She said Ortiz had three kids and it’s Marie Azarcon’s first time to come to the U.S.
Ortiz worked with Philippines Today as an advertising account executive and was a successful realtor. But during the economic crisis in the U.S., he returned to the Philippines to help his parents’ business.
Since Ortiz knew the market conditions in the U.S., Ayala Land hired him as its International Sales Director in the U.S. This trip was Ortiz’ second as Ayala Land’s officer, except for Marie and two others, Nikki Vargas and Josh Alfafara.
Because Ortiz had lots of friends in the Bay area, his remains was flown to Daly City, California on Sunday, April 7, for a day or two of viewing before it is repatriated to the Philippines.
On the other hand, Marie, who was supposed to visit her father in New York, from Fort Lauderdale, was the one to be visited by her father in Fort Lauderdale to arrange the shipment of her remains to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the Florida Highway Patrol are still investigating what caused the driver of Chevy Suburban identified as Willie Dummel, 25, of North Miami Beach, to take an “improper right turn” on Opa-locka street corner. It attracted a police patrol car officer, who turned on his blinkers to give chase.
The patrol car officer also noticed Dummel tossing outside his car a gun that was later recovered.
When Dummel drove north “the wrong way” on to the southbound lanes of the Interstate near the exit for Ives Dairy Road, the patrol car stopped to give chase. A few seconds later the Kia minivan, carrying the four Filipinos, traveling southbound of I-95 crashed head on with Dummel’s Chevy Suburban, killing all the Filipinos on the spot.
Dummel survived the collision and still managed to limp away with broken bones.
A witness, Jeff Kopelman, 56, told The Miami Herald he “saw lights coming this way and thought, this guy is driving the wrong way. I had no idea it was a pursuit. Then, two seconds, and boom. It was a ball of gray and fire, and then we saw the SUV raise up, flip over and over, and land on the side of the road. We knew that something very fatal had just happened.”
Dummel, who used other aliases as “Frantz Deshonmes” and “Reginald Franck,” is now in custody at Broward Memorial Hospital, where he is being treated.
PHOTO CAPTIONS AND CREDITS:
SCENE AFTER CAR COLLISION:
These are what are left from a fiery collision between a Kia minivan carrying four Filipinos who all died when a Chevy Suburban SUV, traveling in a wrong way, collided with the minivan head on early Wednesday (April 3) morning on Interstate I-95 at the Miami-Dade County boundary in Florida. The Filipinos who died were Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz, Lily Marie Azarcon (Tuason), both employees of Philippine-based Ayala Land Company, Marie’s friend, Albertson Anthony Almase, 31, a Petty Officer 2nd Class of the U.S. Navy, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Almase’s little sister, Kristina Almase, 26, a former resident of Cebu in the Philippines, who just relocated to Fort Lauderdale. (Photograb from sun-sentinel.com)
TIREDNESS SAVED THEIR LIVES:
Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz (second from left), 33, a U.S. citizen and International Sales Director for Ayala’s Alveo Land, and Lily Marie Azarcon (Tuason) (to Ortiz’s left), 26, are all smiles in this photo taken last week in the office of Philippines Today in San Bruno, California. They died last Wednesday (April 3) morning in a fiery car crash in Miami-Dade County in Florida after attending a basketball game. Their three companions in the photo to the left, Nikki Vargas, Josh Alfafara and Norman Henson, begged off to attend the basketball game for being tired after doing their presentations and survived. Extreme left is their host, Philippines Today columnist, Pep Vasquez, who is still in shock that the two others (Ortiz and Azarcon (Tuason), beside him, are now gone. (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Kiana Cruz, daughter of Thelma Cruz, Philippines Today’s Vice President for Promotions and Operations)
PRESS RELEASE PHOTO:
This was the press release photo that Dennis Ryan Rinon Ortiz (seated, extreme left) was following up with Philippines Today for publication for this week on the day before he and his subordinate associate, Lily Marie Azarcon (Tuason) (fourth from left, mid row) perished in a fiery car collision Wednesday (April 3) morning at Miami-Dade boundary in Florida. Their three other companions in that trip, Norman Henson (extreme right seated, front row), Nikki Vargas (to Marie’s right) and Josh Alfafara (second from left, last row) begged off to join them in watching a basketball game after being tired and after doing their own presentations and survived. (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Angel Cintron)