SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union: A overloaded jeepney carrying 33 passengers fell to its side on a sharp curve in barangay Pias, which resulted to the death of three female passengers.
The accident happened near a portion of the road which was the site of a landslide during Typhoon Luis.
Senior Inspector Cirilo Butigan, city police deputy, told The Manila Times the jeep, which was driven and operated by Eugene Marquez, was traveling fast prior to the accident.
“The jeep was fully loaded, when it could only accommodate 23 seat-capacity, they even get passengers to sit on the roof,” Butigan said.
In remote areas, this practice has resulted to jeeps being called “Christmas trees.” Besides the roof, passengers are also allowed to ride on the jeepney’s fenders.
Marquez, who sustained injuries to his left hand, claimed there was something wrong with the jeepney’s brakes and did not remember he had passengers on top of his vehicle.
Butigan also said Marquez is now in the custody of the city police station, and faces charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries.
Based on a list from the City Health Office, the fatalities were identified as Helen Salcedo Fernandez of Barangay Pacpaco, who was proclaimed dead on arrival at the Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center (ITRMC); Evangeline Arizabal Pimentel, from Pacpaco; and Laurence Mayo, from Bangbangolan.
Mayo and Pimentel were pinned down by the vehicle and both died on the spot.
The other passengers were taken to the Bethany Hospital and ITRMC. Authorities are still investigating the accident.
Those who were injured were; Dominick Maglingay, 32; Mecoy Vidal, 20; Melody Vidal, 23; Silvestre Cabading, 63; Jenelyn Martinez, 26; Fernando Tadao, 19; Liezel Mangaoang, 16, Teresita Mangaoang, 60; Joven Bacani, 20; Samuel Tangoay, 42; Lorenza Munar, 22; Sheba Mendoza, 22; Angelo Arellano, 18; Princess Rivera Madawi, 2; Flora Graycochea, 60; Marilou Rivera, 45; Valeriano Sebastian, 74; Jean Ragudo, Sebastian Valencia; and Nancy Nisperos;
Also admitted in various hospital were; Rowell Bacani, Genevieve Ragudo, Malmyra Argamaso, Jose Segundo, Synicole Graycochea, Lyra Bersamina, Cristilyn Garino, Michelle Munar and a still unidentified victim. WILLIAM JUN GARCIA