A passenger bus collided head on with a Toyota sedan in Bogo City, north Cebu killing three bus passengers and injuring at least 37.
Police said that after the impact, the bus driver stepped on the accelerator, instead of the brake, possibly out of confusion.
The accident took place 2:45 a.m. on Monday in barangay Dakit on the national highway of Bogo City.
The bus rammed a coconut tree, plowed through a concrete waiting shed and rammed a big kamansili tree before stopping 10 meters away in a sugarcane field.
All the fatalities were passengers of the Metro Cebu Auto Bus Corp. with plate number GVK 355. The bus was heading to Cebu City from San Remigio town.
P03 Edwin Dignos, traffic investigator of the Bogo City police precinct said initial police investigation showed that the Toyota Altis sedan driver was at fault.
Based on the traffic field sketches, the sedan encroached the lane of the bus, which was running at normal speed based on the accounts of bus passengers.
Alfonso Corominas III of Metro Cebu Autobus Corp. said that based on the investigation by Bogo traffic officials, the Toyota sedan rammed the bus.
Nevertheless, Corominas said the company will shoulder all medical expenses.
He estimated the cost to reach a million pesos, including the loss of the bus which was a total wreck.
The Toyota sedan with temporary plate 7CZ814 driven by 43-year-old Aldrin Branzuela Presbitero came from Cebu City. He was heading to his hometown in Daanbantayan.
After the collision, bus driver Jose Rubio Rosaceña, 39, a resident of Daanbantayan town stepped on the accelerator, instead of the brake, according to Dignos. The fatalities were seated behind the bus driver.
A show cause order was issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 against the management of Metro Cebu Autobus Corp.
LTFRB did not suspended the franchise of the bus company, unlike the situation in the Jegans bus crash in Toledo city.
LTFTRB Regional Director Ahmed Cuzon, in a dyLA interview, said the Bogo accident could have been caused by another vehicle.
He said he heard that an overspeeding car had caused the accident and so he couldn’t suspend the bus line wiithout a hearing first.
The bus company through lawyer Joel Chavez will attend today’s hearing at 9:30 am at the LTFRB office.
Cuizon said the company was asked to justify why the operation of their buses or the franchise should not be suspended after the accident.
The three fatalities, all from San Remigion town, died of severe head injuries.
They were identified as Juan Ere Baydal, 50; Roy Gesta Tampus, 37; and Dennis Garcia Gasic, 36.
The two drivers and bus conductor suffered minor injuries and were among 37 persons first treated at the Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital in Bogo City.
Four with more serious injuries in the head and body were transferred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, all residents of San Remigio – Jonathan Masbate, 32; Rolando Pacliban, 60; Avelino Lenguito , 57 and Reynaldo Veraces, 44 of Maño.
The other injured bus passengers were declared out of danger and allowed to go home, said Dignos.
The bus driver, who sustained bruises in the head, hands and legs, was discharged from the Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital in Bogo City and is now in custody at the Bogo police station.
Police said both drivers will be charged with multiple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to properties through reckless imprudence as soon as affidavits of victims and their families are secured.
Dignos said they are still waiting for the families of the victims to show up.
Dignos said they police have not yet interviewed the sedan driver, Presbitero, who complained of chest pains and asked to be brought to a hospital in Cebu City.
The accident happened without warning even as the bus was going at normal speed, said a passenger Manuel Ramirez, 55, at the VSMMC.
Ramirez, a resident of barangay Calcalan, San Remegio Cebu was heading to Cebu City to visit a friend, and sat on the opposite aisle far from the driver.
“Wa mi kahibaw, hantod didto mi mapangka sa poso padong sa waiting shed. Nadiretso ug kaumod ang bus (We didn’t know what happened until we slammed into the waiting shed),” Ramirez told Cebu Daily News.
He said the bus was going at normal speed, and that he didn’t notice the oncoming Toyota sedan.
He had bruises in his head and knees, and some cuts in his forehead, hands and left leg.
He said the parties responsible should pay the hospital bills. /Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondent