Bus crash kills 2, hurts 32 in Cebu-A A +A
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
CEBU CITY -- A packed passenger bus fell sideways in Barangay Balhaan, Badian, Cebu early Monday morning, killing the driver’s wife and daughter and wounding 32 other passengers.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Central Visayas Region suspended 10 units of the Ceres Bus Liner, including the bus that figured in Monday’s accident.
Residents near the accident site rushed to help found the bodies of Marlyn Gerson, 41, and her daughter Geralyn, 5. The two held each other in a final embrace.
It was Marlyn’s husband Erwin, 42, who was driving when the accident took place at 7:18 a.m., after the bus allegedly sped downhill in Sitio Bangko-Bangko.
Police Officer (PO2) Randy Balansag, an investigator of the Badian Police Station, said that Gerson lost control of the vehicle and smashed into an electric post and tree, before the bus tumbled on its right side.
An alcohol test showed Gerson was driving under the influence of liquor. He reportedly told the police that he had finished two bottles of beer on Sunday night.
Investigator Balansag, when interviewed by reporters, said previous road accidents in Barangay Balhaan were minor ones.
A 40-meter-long skid mark led from the damaged post to the fallen bus. Had Gerson failed to hold on to the steering wheel, Balansag theorized, the bus could have fallen off a cliff.
“Basin daghan pa ang mamatay (Many others could have died),” the police investigator said.
Gerson later told the police there was no truth to speculations he had fought with his wife. The family lives in Wireless, Mandaue City, but Marlyn sometimes visited her husband at work.
The initial investigation showed the bus left its terminal in Bato, Samboan town at 6 a.m. en route to Cebu City.
Many of its passengers were students who were on their way to school. The bus could seat 39. Gerson said there were 42 on board.
When it reached Sitio Bangko-Bangko, the driver said, he tried to apply the brakes.
“Nisayaw siya dayon nitakilid na man (The bus swerved then began to fall),” he said.
His wife and daughter, who sat in front, bore the brunt of the impact.
No OR, CR
Gerson is detained in the Badian Police Station, where he will face a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting to double homicide and multiple physical injuries.
He failed to present the original receipt and certificate of registration of the bus when the police asked for these.
Police are now looking for his helper on the bus, who remained unidentified and reportedly fled after the accident.
Primitivo Candido, 49, who lives in the area, recalled seeing a bus that was going fast, before he heard a loud thud. He was one of the few people who helped pull out the passengers from the bus.
When Sun.Star Cebu visited the area, there were still some slippers, clothes and coloring pencils laid out on the ground.
At the St. Anne Funeral Parlor, Menchie Subingsubing, the driver’s cousin, rose to his defense, saying it was his first accident.
She said that Gerson’s wife had attended the first misa de gallo (dawn mass) on Monday, before visiting her husband, which was something she often did.
LTFRB Regional Director Ahmed Cuizon said he has asked Vallacar Transit to assign at least one company representative in all the hospitals where the injured passengers are being treated, to ensure their needs are taken care of.
Cuizon said the 10 units owned and operated by Vallacar Transit Corp. are authorized to operate within the Guihulngan-Cebu City route.
“I am likewise coordinating with the bus insurer so that financial assistance will be extended to the victims,” he added.
He has “issued a show cause-order directing the bus operator to appear at our office tomorrow afternoon and show proof as to why the subject franchise should not be canceled.”
Since it is now the peak season for bus operations, Cuizon urged bus operators to apply for special permits that will allow them to ply the routes of the 10 suspended buses, to make sure there are enough buses on the road during the Christmas season.
After the accident, seven of the passengers were admitted in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City.
As of 12:33 p.m., VSMMC emergency medicine department chairman Emmanuel Gines said in a press briefing that two of these patients needed immediate surgery, but were both in stable condition.
The other five patients were not in critical condition; three sustained minor lacerations and were given stress debriefing, while the other two had simple fractures.
The patients admitted in VSMMC were Winston Adams Palamine and Sheila Yong, both 19 years old; Bernardita Enario, 20; Renante Ybañez, 30; Virginia Pilingon, 36; Ireneo Talaugon, 54; and Gregorio Pugoy.
Those brought to the Badian District Hospital were identified as Ida Aida Javierto, 47; Cepriana Cuevas, 46; Renan Letegio, 23; Jimmy Norte, 42; Marcio Bendulo, 71; Alever Asma, 27, Edwin Batomalaque; 19; Rosell Zamora, 27; and Lourdes Bendulo, 63.
Prescilla Sanchez, 62; Jorgen Devila, 19; Euteqia Dantes, 80; Mariano Endab, 41; Mary Lou Baricus; Gian Clifford Gorango; Melrose Gomez; Isidro Manaba; Maricris Gomez; and Marilou Malaylan were confined in Alegria town.
Melita Abella, 37; Shiela Patriarca, 23; Gerenio Talangon, 34; Serevil Cuevas, 21: Rory Jay Bitasolo, 20; and Gegion Nobela, 28, were rushed to Malabuyoc town. (The patients who were transferred to the VSMMC had been brought first to Malabuyoc.)
Meanwhile, the family of Aldin Ebale visited the Badian Police Station on Monday afternoon to inform that he was among the injured passengers, but went straight home after the accident. (Jave Matugas, USJR-Mass Comm Intern/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 17, 2013.