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.