Van-truck collision kills 3

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Friday, February 14, 2014


A VAN carrying persons with disabilities (PWDs) on their way for a medical check-up in Cebu City collided with a dump truck in Barangay Talaga, Argao, Cebu, killing three people and wounding 11 others.

Killed were two women and a 10-year-old boy.

The collision happened at 7 a.m. Thursday, February 13, on a blind curve in Sitio Baybayon, an area that residents there said is accident-prone.

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Argao Police Chief Inspector Alejandro Batobalonos said the white Isuzu L300 van overtook a tricycle at the blind curve before it collided with a ten-wheeler Fuzo truck.

The van driven by Jose Ramil Entice, 36, came from Oslob town. Entice was driving the PWDs to Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City.

Guillerma Belandres, 25, of Barangay Banhigan, Dalaguete, and Rosalinda Laurente, 42, of Barangay Calumpang, Oslob, died on the spot.

Ten-year-old Diether Caracol died at the Isidro Kintanar Memorial Hospital in Barangay Poblacion, Argao.

Police chief Batobalonos told Sun.Star Cebu that the casualties were in the middle seats of the van and got thrown off at impact.

Police said the van (TOC-306) left Oslob town at dawn and picked up the PWDs and their escorts.

When the van reached Sitio Baybayon in Argao, it overtook a tricycle and met a truck heading toward its way.

The truck (KED-200) driven by Mandy Estares, 38, of Barangay Pangdan, Naga City was going to Dalaguete, a town after Oslob, to gather coal minerals.

Entice stepped on the brakes but lost control of the van on the slippery road. Rains the previous day made the roads slippery.

The van crashed into the truck’s left front before it rolled into a ditch.

Both drivers were pinned inside their vehicles and had to be pulled out by residents and police.

High school student Sansen Pelosas, 19, was about to take a shower when he heard a loud crash.

The crash sounded like a tire exploding, he said.

He went out to check and saw the collision.

He helped pull out the passengers from the van.

His mother Annie, 52, called the police for help and also extricated the passengers.

Annie, in an interview, said the accident was the latest in a string of road mishaps that have happened in Sitio Baybayon.

The victims were brought to the town hospital, but later transferred to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City.

They were identified as Arieta Caracol, 42; Stephanie Belandries, 17; Dan Luster Cala, 18; Jessica Celerio, 31; Luis Caracol, 31; Aliosa Caracol, 14; Lorna Minao, 46; Ryan Minao, 12; and Abegail Entice, three.

Their medical check-up at Chong Hua Hospital was sponsored by Norfil Foundation Inc., a non-profit social welfare organization that helps disabled persons. The foundation is accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWD).

Police chief Batobalonos said van driver Entice had told police before he was transferred to Cebu City that he had overtaken the tricycle.

Batobalonos said road accidents are common in Argao because there is a long stretch of highway and drivers tend to accelerate their vehicles.

From police records, 10 of 12 incidents in Argao during the last week of January were vehicular accidents.

Batobalonos cautioned motorists against overspeeding.

Truck driver Estares said he was not at fault in the accident. He said he was running at less than 40 kilometer per hour (kph).

He tried but failed to avoid the swerving van.

He fainted after the impact and had to be rescued.

“Dili man akong sala pero naluoy ko sa mga namatay ug nadamay (It wasn’t my fault but I pity those who died and got injured),” he said.

Estares, a native of San Miguel, Bulacan, has six children and his wife just recently gave birth.

He was detained at the Argao Police Station. Like Entice, he will face the complaints for reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries.

Victims

Dan Luster Cala, 18, had the least injury, and for that, his family was thankful.

His companion, Rosalinda Laurente, died. Cala’s mother had called her from Manila and asked her to accompany her son, an epileptic, to his monthly check-up.

Cala said he was unaware they met an accident but he saw Laurente thrown off from the vehicle.

Benita Dulay, Cala’s aunt and Laurente’s cousin, said they learned of the accident from radio reports and called Cala’s mother at once.

Florante Entice was not as thankful as the family of Cala.

His sister-in-law, Guillerma Belandres, died while Belandres’s daughters Abigail, 3, and Stefanie, 12, suffered broken legs.

Entice, who lives a kilometer away from the accident site, said the area is prone to accidents. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 14, 2014.

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