DMV fire suspect’s mental health probed

Hugo Carranza

Hugo Carranza

Did the DMV push him over the edge?

Court-appointed doctors will evaluate a man whose frustration with the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Daly City earlier this year allegedly drove him to set a car on fire in an employee parking lot.

Hugo Carranza, 64, is charged with arson and vandalism in connection with an April 23 incident that damaged two cars at the DMV branch at 1500 Sullivan Ave.

Two doctors were assigned to Carranza’s case Wednesday after questions emerged about whether he is mentally fit to stand trial. Jail staff have not medically cleared him to attend court.

The Daly City resident was upset that the DMV refused to release his car, which had been impounded last October for having expired registration, prosecutors said. He had reportedly paid some of his fines, but not all, and so just after 10 a.m. on a Monday he allegedly picked out a random car, poured an accelerant over its tires and lit it on fire.

The blaze also damaged a second car, California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Tam said.

Carranza initially fled, but later turned himself in, Tam said. Prosecutors believe he was desperate to get his car back in order to continue his house-cleaning business.

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