CEBU CITY -- Two persons died on the spot while two others were injured when the two-door Pajero they were riding slammed into a tree on UN Ave. in Mandaue City Thursday afternoon.
The vehicle hit the center island and an eight-foot advertising signage, lost control and slammed into a tree, investigators said.
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 various road accidents occurring every week.
Before Thursday'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.
Police Officer 2 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 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 signage on the center island.
Police said the driver's head slammed into the signage with such impact that parts of the skull and brains were splattered on the road.
After the initial impact, the canvass-roofed vehicle 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 up the sidewalk, fell 25 meters and slammed into a tree and fence.
Security guard Glen Mahilum was one of the first persons to go to the vehicle after the accident. He said he saw the driver bathed in blood. He said Ibarzabal told him, "nalipong ko (I feel faint)."
He said he saw Amores moving at the back seat. Ibarzabal later said Rolly was seated beside Amores. Rolly's bloodied body, however, was flung about 25 meters away on the highway.
The Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) traffic division is still investigating the accident.
It 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 in 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 Thursday 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.
Police Officer 1 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 Thursday 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.
Witnesses told responding policemen when the Capitol truck tried to apply the brakes, it swerved a bit and hit the 10-wheeler.
When they reached the area, Pananganan noted the Capitol truck was now facing the opposite direction.
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 Governor 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 of Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)