TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — Another unit of the Southern Star Bus Transit, Inc., a bus line under Ceres Liner, figured in a road accident early morning on March 22 in Dimiao, killing two passengers and injuring 11 persons—including the driver.
Holy Name Funeral Homes identified the first casualty as one Edwin Barog, 20, student of the University of Bohol from Barangay Cagawasan, Inabanga.
The second casualty, Ronaldo Mendez, 38, resident of Barangay Union in Ubay, was declared dead on arrival by attending physicians at Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH).
Those injured in the freak accident were Jonathan Lee, 36, from Quezon City; Arsenio Muring, 46, from Dangay, Albur; Arnie Tidalgo, 18, from President Carlos P. Garcia; Charra Golosino, 8, and mother, Victoria Golosino, 39, from San Francisco, Talibon; John-john Dalubatan, 38, and Evangelina Dalubatan, 38, from Surigao del Norte; Lonilon Lagumbay, 76, from Dimiao.
Two other passengers injured in the accident still have to be identified.
Barog died on the spot when pinned by the bus at its side.
Mendez, Muring, and Lagumbay sustained injuries on the head; Tidalgo sustained bruises and cuts on the right elbow; the older Golosino sustained bruises on her left arms and left side of the body; John Dalubatan sustained injuries on left side of the body and head; and Evangelina Dalubatan sustained bruises on the body.
The driver, Armand Morales; the conductor, Benjie Mira; and inspector, Monito Aguilo, also sustained injuries and were brought to a hospital in Tagbilaran City for treatment.
The bus turned turtle thrice after a sudden stop while navigating a curve towards a bridge in Tangohay, the boundary barangay between Dimiao and Valencia.
The bus, bound for Ubay, fell through a shallow cliff and landed on its side on a ricefield.
Police Officer 2 Rex Gundaya, investigator at Dimiao Police Station said Morales, the driver of the involved Southern Star Bus unit with body number 12126 admitted he felt drowsy that might have caused him to lose control of the wheel.
Gundaya said some of the passengers he had interviewed said the driver even stopped earlier to buy food and told them that it would help keep him awake while driving.
Mira, for his part, told the police investigator that upon reaching the area, the bus first zigzagged before falling into the ravine.
From the police station, Morales was brought to Leona O. Lim Memorial Hospital in Valencia.
Ronald Jumawid of the Holy Name Funeral Home in Valencia branch said Barog was rushed to the Rural Health Unit in Dimiao but was declared dead by the municipal health officer.
Fritzi Labastilla, spokesperson of the Southern Star Bus Transit, Inc., for her part, said that the company will conduct a thorough probe on the incident.
Labastilla said Morales was a regular driver and the company’s policy is that a driver only works for one round trip daily and they have to rest by 3-4 p.m.
The dispatchers also check that the strict implementation of first in-first out policy, to make sure the drivers have rested enough before returning for work after a round trip.
Labastilla also assured that the company will shoulder the hospital bills of the victims.
Other assistance on top of the hospital bills has to get the approval of the top management, Labastilla said.
She explained that they need proper coordination with the top management who would normally require complete documentation and reports for the additional assistance that might be needed.
Labastilla said the accident was the first fatal one this year involving a Southern Star Bus unit. PNA / northboundasia.com