TWO persons died on the spot while two others were injured when the two-door Pajero they were in slammed into a tree on U.N. Ave. in Mandaue City yesterday afternoon.

The vehicle hit the center island and an eight-foot advertising billboard, lost control and slammed into a tree, investigators said.

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Killed on the spot were Emerenciano Babao, 37, who drove the vehicle, and a car painter identified only as Rolly.

Agapito Amores Jr., the 56-year-old owner of the Pajero, and shop helper Michael Ibarzabal, 30, survived the accident with injuries.

Road accidents have been reported in different areas in Cebu since July 13, when a Filipino driver and 20 Iranian nationals were killed when a bus fell in Transcentral Highway. Since then, the deaths have reached 44 due to road accidents occurring every week.

Before yesterday’s mishap, Amores reportedly had the exhaust of his Pajero welded in Babao’s repair shop in Sitio Kapaping, Basak, Lapu-Lapu City. Rolly and Ibarzabal work for Babao.

His wife, Maria Teresa, told police that Amores bought a case of beer that morning after his vehicle was repaired.

She said her husband, Amores and the two shop workers were drinking when she left to fetch her six-year-old child in school. The couple has three children aged 15, 12 and six.

The group later left aboard the Pajero.

PO2 Journey Fuentes, who investigated the accident, said the vehicle was likely running at full speed. He said he will still check whether it lost its brakes before the impact.

Fuentes said that from Lapu-Lapu City, the vehicle descended the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge and the left side of the vehicle hit the post of an advertising billboard on the center island.

Police said the driver’s head slammed into the billboard.

The canvass-roofed vehicle then swerved to the right, throwing Rolly out of the passenger window and killing him instantly.

After hitting the sign, the vehicle still ran about 75 meters, went over the sidewalk, fell 25 meters and slammed into a tree and fence.

The Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) traffic division noted the absence of skid marks before the Pajero hit the signage. Skid marks were only found on the right gutter and sidewalk.

Inside the Mandaue District Hospital emergency room, Ibarzabal, still reeking with liquor, admitted he was drunk and did not know what happened. He had scratches on his face and his white shirt was smeared with blood.

Amores, who was also being attended to in the emergency room, refused to talk to

reporters.

In Alcoy town, a Capitol truck that carried workers doing landscaping job in Oslob collided with a 10-wheeler truck yesterday afternoon.

The truck from the Provincial Planning and Development Office reportedly overtook another vehicle on its way to Cebu City when it crashed into the 10-wheeler truck that was headed for Boljoon town.

The impact caused the Capitol's Isuzu Canter truck to face the opposite direction.

PO1 Herbert Pananganan, assistant investigator of the Alcoy Police Station, said driver Wilson Villafranca, 63, and employees Rene Fajardo and Orlando Buenaventura were injured after the front of the truck was damaged.

They were taken to the Alcoy Rural Health Unit where the municipal doctor recommended they be taken to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.

Of the three, Pananganan said it was Fajardo who had the more serious injuries and had to be transported on a stretcher.

Pananganan told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that based on witness' accounts, the Capitol truck accelerated as it tried to overtake another vehicle. The 10-wheeler was headed in the opposite direction and the two vehicles collided.

The 10-wheeler truck driver, Arnel Sosas Sasil, did not have any injuries, but decided not to continue on his journey.

This was because the windshield of the truck was completely cracked and obscured his view of the road.

Cebu Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. said the accident raised the need to subject Capitol vehicles to a roadworthiness test, which he proposed earlier.

“They did not believe me, now see what happened?” Sanchez said. (OCP/MEA/With RRF)