Three vehicular accidents in Virac and Bato were blamed on drivers who were either driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or fell asleep at the wheel.
In Bato town last May 12, 2022, a van driven by a Gigmoto technician mowed down five pedestrians, killing a 10-year-old pupil and injuring three other children and another resident.
During the investigation, Salvador Barcelon Tatel, 62, of District 1, Gigmoto, admitted that he was at the wheel of the white Hyundai Centro van (NFW1563) sometime at 8:20 PM when he fell asleep and his vehicle rammed several pedestrians walking at the right side of the road in front of the Bato Central Elementary School in barangay Ilawod.
In trying to evade the pedestrians, the van veered to the left, hit the concrete posts of the school’s waiting shed at the left lane and crashed into the concrete fence of the residence of one Adoracion Rojas adjacent to the school before rolling over.
Scores of bystanders reportedly went to the accident site to gawk at the victims and the vehicle before rescuers and the personnel of the Bato police station led by Cpl. Ronnie de Quiroz arrived.
Found lying on the pavement with injuries to their lower and upper extremities were Christine Joy Bandola, her cousins Mike Angelo Bandola, Cheska Bandola and Dave Michael Bandola, all BCES pupils and residents of barangay Tamburan, and, Alendy Taway, a resident of Bagumbayan who was just waiting for a ride home.
The van driver survived the crash with minor injuries but the passenger seated beside him, his sister Norma Tatel Tacorda of West Garden Subdivision, Bigaa, Virac, reportedly succumbed to her injuries while being treated at a hospital.
The two siblings went to Gigmoto a day earlier to attend the wake of their mother and left for Virac early evening after the noontime funeral, as Tatel was supposed to return to Manila on May 13 on board the van.
Responding rescuers from the Bato police, Bureau of Fire Protection, MDRRMO Bato and the Philippine Red Cross in Virac brought the victims to the nearest hospital.
Christine Joy Bandola was declared dead on arrival at the Bato Maternity and Children’s Hospital while the others were transferred to Eastern Bicol Medical Center in Virac for further treatment.
A criminal charge for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide has already been filed against Tatel, who remains in police custody. Other charges for the same offence related to the other victims as well as damage to the fence are expected to be filed by the police.
Also in Bato, three residents of Solong, San Miguel were injured when the motorcycle they were riding failed to make a turn on the national highway and slammed into an electric post in barangay Cabugao
The initial report identified those injured as Manny Henite Maras, Danilo Bernal dela Cruz and Rey Tupas Tindugan.
With Maras as driver, they were bound home from Virac at 10:30 PM of May 14 when they hit the post while negotiating the left-hand turn at the accident-prone curving part of the highway near the Cabugao church.
Responding personnel from Bato PNP, BFP Bato and Red Cross brought the trio to EBMC in Virac but Maras succumbed to serious head injuries. According to police sources, he was not wearing a safety helmet at the time of the accident although he carried one.
Sometime during the night spanning May 14 and 15, a Mitsubishi Montero SUV (AHK418) left its lane, crossed the median and crashed into the waiting shed of Gogon Elementary School in Virac.
A source told the Tribune that the driver, who admitted that he was driving under the influence of liquor, was surprised by an oncoming tricycle without lights.
He allegedly swung the vehicle to the left and hit the wall of the waiting shed, inflicting damages to the vehicle.
It was not determined if the driver was alone or had passengers or whether they sustained injuries, as the Virac police refused to release details about the incident due to the Freedom of Information (FOI) executive order.
Last Sunday noon in Calatagan Proper, Virac, a speeding motorcycle collided head-on with a tricycle from San Andres bringing ferry passengers to their homes.
The impact threw the motorcycle’s female backrider into the air, with the victim landing underneath a parked tricycle five meters from the accident site.
Responding police officers and Virac MDRRMO rescuers brought the victim, who sustained a broken right leg, to the hospital. The tricycle driver, a woman passenger and the motorcycle driver survived with minor injuries.
The police also did not release any report about the mishap.