FAMILIES of the victims of the car crash at the South Road Properties (SRP) last Sunday withdrew the complaint against the truck driver after both parties reached a settlement yesterday.

Truck driver Danilo Cojo, 47, from Davao del Norte, left for his hometown last night to attend the wake of his mother, who died while he was in detention.

Cojo was released after the victims’ families withdrew the complaint of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide.

He had been detained at the Parian Police Station since the accident Sunday dawn, which left five persons dead.

The Hyundai sedan driven by Rustico Bas crossed the center island of the Cebu South Coastal Road before colliding with Cojo’s truck.

Cojo, a father of three, was relieved with the outcome of the case, and is thankful to the victim’s families and his employer.

Last Tuesday afternoon, Bas’s daughter Angeli filed the complaint against Cojo at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.

A family member of one of the victims, who requested anonymity, said they filed the complaint as a formality, but they decided to meet and settle with Cojo in court and agreed to forgive him.

Assistant Cebu City Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño refused to be interviewed regarding her decision on the complaint filed against Cojo.

In a text message to Sun.Star Cebu, she said her resolution will still undergo review and approval by the head prosecutor. 

SPO4 Nelson Jayme, chief investigator of the Traffic Patrol Group (TPG), said he learned from his junior investigator PO3 Edgar Baton that a settlement was reached inside Casiño’s office. They later released Cojo from detention.

Casiño said in a text message that she was “not privy to any settlement among the parties.”

A family member of one of the victims said Cojo’s employer gave the families an undetermined amount of cash as aid.

Cojo’s employer initially offered to settle the case for P150,000 but no one would confirm the amount after the meeting.

The meeting at the prosecutor’s office, which lasted until after lunch, was attended by complainant Angeli, Hershel Juinio, the mother of victim Owen, and four relatives of the other victims.

Cojo was accompanied by a representative of his employer.

Hershel, who just got home from abroad, told Sun.Star Cebu that she is still mourning her son’s death. She said she believes that it was an accident and it was not Cojo’s fault.

Hershel and her companions assured Cojo that they never blamed him for the death of their loved ones.

They also gave him cash when they learned that his mother died, after being told that he was in jail.

Hershel, who spoke in behalf of the victims’ families, said that the money is for the funeral expenses.

Cojo left for Davao last night, a trip paid for by his employer.

The families of the victims, whom Cojo described as thoughtful and kind, extended their condolences and wished him a safe trip.

Bas and his passengers Alma Basalo, Gwendolyn Basalo and Rosette Capala will be buried this Saturday while Owen Juinio will be laid to rest on Monday. (Rolando Balondo Jr., NSU AB Comm. Intern/with Kevin Lagunda)