FIVE people were killed while 10 others were injured after a 10-wheeler red dump truck plowed into a six-wheeler truck, five cars, five motorcycles and a bicycle on N. Bacalso Ave. in Barangay Lawaan 3, Talisay City past 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Randy Caballes, chief of the Talisay City Police Station, identified the dead as Jose Wendel Cataquez, 66, and Paquito San Pedro Jr., 29, of Barangay Apas, Cebu City.
Also killed were Glenn Baclay, 24, a resident of Barangay Maghaway, Talisay City, and a woman whose name is not yet known.
Caballes said the driver of the red dump truck, Benchin Udtohan, a native of Zamboanga del Sur, died at the hospital.
As for the 10 injured, only four have been identified by police so far. They are Nelo Rublica, 35, Rey Discos, 47, Evan Minguel Reyna, 15, and Paquito San Pedro Sr., father of one of the fatalities.
The rest of the injured are believed to have chosen not to seek treatment at a hospital after sustaining only minor injuries in the accident.
Investigation by Talisay City police revealed that prior to the incident, Udtohan, the driver of the red dump truck, was racing with another dump truck.
“Allegedly, this red dump truck was racing with a white truck, which was also struck by the red truck. They were running very fast. Those vehicles already collided with each other. That is why they went in different directions. About 20 meters from here, the vehicles were already struck, which is why they were dragged here,” Police Master Sergeant Reynaldo Tañeca Jr. told reporters in Cebuano.
Tañeca said the dump truck also hit a motorcycle with a sidecar and another motorcycle that was intending to make a turn.
Hazel Busa, who was in one of the vehicles struck by the 10-wheeler dump truck, said: “He (the driver of the dump truck) was honking his car horn, and he was driving very fast, at around 100 kilometers per hour. There was nothing we could do, and the next thing was that he plowed into all the vehicles.”
The rear of Busa’s Mitsubishi Mirage was destroyed by the collision. She had been heading to the south of Cebu City when the wayward dump truck rendered her vehicle useless.
Busa said a Beep (Bus-jeep) helped slow the dump truck when it was hit by the dump truck.
City of Talisay Traffic Operations and Development Authority (CT-Toda) chief Jonathan “Joy” Tumulak, however, does not believe that racing caused the accident, as it occurred on a busy highway, and the driver of the white truck said he did not even notice the red dump truck until he was hit.
Instead, Tumulak believes either mechanical failure or human error caused the tragedy.
He said based on footage from the CCTV camera of Barangay Lawaan 3, the white truck was in front of the red dump truck. The red truck hit the white truck, causing the latter to hit a green Multicab. The red truck then hit the blue Beep, causing the Beep to hit a vehicle.
The red truck then went on to hit a motorcycle with a sidecar before going towards the white truck again.
The red truck also hit an L300 panel type vehicle as well as a Lalamove van parked along the road as it was being repaired by its driver, San Pedro Jr., who was killed in the incident.
San Pedro Jr.’s father, who was among the injured, witnessed his son’s killing, as he was in the L300 panel type vehicle also hit by the red truck.
The CT-Toda’s Tumulak said he will recommend that the Talisay City Council revisit its truck ban ordinance passed in 2012.
This would be a way to regulate the movement of dump trucks so that they are not on the roads when traffic is high, avoiding road accidents involving large trucks.
The city’s truck ban is from 6 to 8 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.
Tumulak said more dump trucks are now passing through the city streets amid the increasing number of infrastructure and quarry projects being undertaken.
Tumulak cited the projects at the “international port and the quarry site in (Barangay) Lagtang.”
In addition to the truck ban, Tumulak also urged motorists and truck drivers to follow the 20 kilometer per hour speed limit. (CTL)