Bus driver’s ‘error’ on SLEx kills his 2 pals: ‘Forgive me’
Apologies were all bus driver Roel Villareal could offer the families of his two coworkers who died because of his miscalculation behind the wheel on South Luzon Expressway before dawn Wednesday.
Villareal, 22, was driving an Alabang-bound Lippad Transit bus around 5 a.m. on SLEx near Hillsborough village in Muntinlupa City when he tried to overtake a truck and ended up crashing the bus into the back of a fuel tanker.
The smashup killed bus conductor Omer Salvador Garcia, 33, and passenger Alejandro Limbo, 46, both from Quezon City. The accident also wounded three passengers who were brought to Ospital ng Muntinlupa.
As diesel began to leak from the damaged tanker, the other bus passengers rushed out and passing motorists veered to avoid the crash site.
Apparently fearing an angry mob, Villareal also fled and resurfaced later at his bus company’s office in Quezon City, before surrendering to the Highway Patrol Group of the Philippine National Police early afternoon.
“To the families of those killed, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do it. It was an accident. I ask your forgiveness,” the driver told reporters at the HPG office in Bicutan, Taguig City.
Villareal, a resident of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan province, said both fatalities were his coworkers at Lippad, which hired Villareal nine months ago. “They were like brothers to me. We were always in banter and often had our meals at the garage at the same time,” he said.
The three of them were even talking and telling jokes just before the accident happened, he said.
Villareal is facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property, said Police Officer 3 James Baluya of the HPG.
Baluya attributed the accident to driver’s error and miscalculation. He also noted that the bus, according to Villareal, was hitting between 60 and 70 kph when it tried to overtake the truck.
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