Barely three months after the suspension order against Nova Auto Transport was lifted, one of its buses again figured in a major accident on Edsa early Wednesday, injuring 11 people, including a five-year-old girl.
The southbound bus being driven by Isidro Hortelano fell on its side after making a sharp turn to avoid hitting a taxi around 7 a.m., according to the initial investigation.
For about 30 minutes, the vehicle lay across the highway, clogging traffic on all but two of the southbound lanes near the corner of Pantaleon Street, Mandaluyong City.
PO3 Salani Radzail of the Mandaluyong police initially said charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple physical injuries will be filed against Hortelano, 44.
But the Inquirer learned later in the day that the injured passengers signed a joint affidavit agreeing to an amicable settlement, provided the bus company would shoulder their medical expenses and pay for their lost workday.
Radzail said the passengers received a total P16,200 in compensation, including the cost of a passenger’s cell phone worth P5,000 that got lost.
The city police’s traffic and investigation unit identified the injured bus passengers as gas station attendant John Estacion, 33; security officer Danilo Lozares Jr., 38; carpenter Fred Regoso, 53; service crew member Clarence Balagon, 21; electrician Lemuel Aurena, 23; construction worker Gerry Andon, 35; call center agent Johnnyphil Evardone, 26; factory worker Alan Ganero, 45; Noriel Demian, 34; janitor Marjoe Escuadro, 29; and his daughter, Sky, 5.
They were treated for abrasions and minor injuries at Mandaluyong City Medical Center.
According to the passengers, Hortelano was driving at high speed and was too late to see the taxi ahead of him. He suddenly swerved to the left to avoid hitting the cab, losing control.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s Road Emergency Group, which responded to the scene, called the incident a “self-accident.”
In October 2012, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board suspended the operations of the entire Nova fleet after two of its buses figured in separate accidents—one of them killing a motorcycle rider—in Quezon City within a span of 24 hours.
The suspension was lifted a month later, allowing 66 of the firm’s 76 buses to again ply their routes.