Three persons, two of them minors, were killed, and 10 were injured, when a Ceres bus headed north swerved out of control on the highway in Barangay Damgo, EB Magalona town, Negros Occidental, hitting two houses, at about 1:40 p.m. yesterday, a police report said.
Bus driver Jess Amable Martinez, 44, allegedly tried to overtake a vehicle in front of him but hesitated because of an approaching truck on the opposite lane of a curving road. As Martinez returned to his lane, he hit the brakes to avoid hitting the vehicle in front, causing the Ceres bus to swerve to the right and hit the houses beside the highway where a group of people playing bingo were gathered, the report said.
But Martinez claimed he swerved his vehicle to avoid another coming from the shoulder of the road that suddenly made a U-turn, Inspector Leonardo Cubing, EB Magalona deputy police chief, said.
The bus slammed into two houses, hitting 13 people as it fell into a canal.
EB Magalona Mayor David Lacson identified the residents of the houses hit by the bus who were killed as Florida Pelagio, 38, and her son, Gaspar Pelagio, 6, and Jillianne Lamis, 1.
In critical condition were Jillianne’s mother, Geraldine Lamis, 27, and Wilma Sales, 12, Barangay Damgo residents who had to be pried out from beneath the bus, Cubing said.
Also injured were Pelagio’s children, Geraldine, 14, and Gabriel, 4 months old; Aspril Jereme, 13, Ma. Joanna Rose Mae Delfin, 16, Alexis Penuela, 19, of Barangay Damgo; and two bus passengers, Ian Asuyon, 17, and Merile Bagyo, 49, of Victorias City, and one unidentified victim, the police report said.
The Lamis house was destroyed and that of the Pelagio’s was damaged.
Lacson said Ceres Liner and the Office of Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) were assisting the victims, while the town government will also provide help.
The driver voluntarily surrendered to the EB Magalona police where he is temporarily detained, the police report said.*CPG