‘Texting’ bus driver sends vehicle flying into Ortigas flyover railingsBy Nancy C. Carvajal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Ten people ended up in the hospital Wednesday afternoon after a passenger bus rammed the railings of the Ortigas flyover on the southbound lane of Edsa and teetered on the edge of the structure before its nose came to a rest against a post and the underside of the Metro Rail Transit tracks.
The driver of the Don Mariano Bus blamed a motorcycle which he claimed suddenly appeared in front of his vehicle and forced him to swerve to the right.
His passengers, however, disputed this and said that he was texting on his cell phone just seconds before the accident occurred.
Zoilo Mogol of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said that of the 10 who were injured, eight were bus passengers. The remaining two were a motorcycle driver and an MMDA traffic constable who were standing under the flyover when the accident occurred.
Both were hit by pieces of the flyover railing which fell onto the road below. Some of the debris also fell on a Honda Civic, leaving the car damaged although its driver was unhurt.
According to Brian de Guzman, an MMDA medic who was among the first to attend to the injured passengers, the bus driver identified as Florencio Beron was tinkering with his cell phone before the accident.
“All of the passengers were one in saying that the driver was texting before the bus swerved to the right to avoid a motorcycle that appeared on his left,” de Guzman told the Inquirer.
Among the injuries sustained by the bus passengers were cuts and bruises although two of them suffered leg fractures.
When interviewed by the Inquirer, Beron denied that he was using his cell phone before his bus rammed the flyover railings.
“I tried to avoid [a] motorcycle and I swerved to my right, ‘’ he explained.
Beron also insisted that he was not speeding and that he was just running at a speed of around 30 to 40 kph.
But according to Mogol, the damaged showed otherwise.
“The railings would not easily break if the impact was not strong,” he said.
Mogol said Beron would be initially charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple injuries and damage to property.
The accident snarled traffic for more than an hour on the southbound lane of Edsa. With Miko Morelos, Kristine Felisse Mangunay