Brother: wanted man “made honest mistake” in road rage incident

Local News

Brandon Cook, the man wanted in the U.S. 30 road rage death, was still missing Wednesday, police confirmed.

On the same day, a man who claims to be Cook’s half-brother called NewsChannel 15 to defend the man he grew up with.

James Smith said he and Cook are a year apart in age and were close, sharing the same mom.

“It hurts him that he can’t go home,” Cook explained. “He’s scared. Honestly, he’s scared.”

Smith told NewsChannel 15 he talked to Cook after the incident on U.S. 30 that left 60-year-old Orlando Fernandez.

“Me and my family, and Brandon are truly sorry about what happened,” Cook added. “We really are. We send our condolences out about it.”  

Cook faces an involuntary manslaughter charge. Smith told NewsChannel 15 his brother ‘handled his business’ with Fernandez and left, not realizing Fernandez would die a short time later. According to the coroner’s office, Fernandez’s heart stopped beating as a result of the fight.

“It was truly an accident,” Smith said. “He had no clue. I just want the public to know that. I want the police to know that. I want the courts to know that. He’s not a murderer. He’s an honest man that made an honest mistake.”

Smith lives in Phoenix and said he has been waiting for police to show up at his door looking for Cook. “I I don’t know where he’s at,” Smith added. “He’s not going to tell me where he’s at. He’s not going to tell anybody where he’s at until he gets lawyered up. Kinda can’t blame him.”

 The funeral for Fernandez was held Tuesday.

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