7 dead in NorCot highway mishap PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 March 2013 14:03

Four of the seven fatalities in Friday’s deadly collision of three vehicles in North Cotabato’s Pikit town were graduating nursing students on their way to a community tour as part of their studies on public health care.

Sr. Insp. Jordaine Maribojo, chief of the Pikit municipal police, identified the four students as Sittie Haymiyah Ibrahim, Umayrah Abutazil, Potri Sauya Mansa, and Judy Uy, of the St. Benedict College in Parang town in Maguindanao.

All of the seven fatalities were passengers of an over speeding northbound White Toyota passenger van that first collided with a jeepney coming from the opposite direction of the highway when its driver lost control while maneuvering recklessly at a blind curve at the Takepan-Nalapaan stretch the Cotabato-Davao Highway in Pikit.

Witnesses, among them Rey Dan Lacson, a worker of a foreign-funded non-government organization involved in various peace advocacy projects in Cotabato City, said so strong was the impact of the collision that the ill-fated van was almost split apart and slammed  into an approaching 6x6 truck of an Army Special Forces unit based in a nearby town.

A radio block timer, Lacson, who was riding another passenger vehicle, said the driver of the van that figured in the accident, Central Mindanao’s worst ever in recent years, was driving recklessly when he overtook several vehicles, including the one carrying him, seconds before reaching the accident-prone curve where it collided with an approaching jeepney.

Lacson said a passenger of the speeding van even waved at them and flashed a thumb down sign, as if taunting drivers of several vehicles they have overtaken, just as it sped towards the scene of the accident.

Maribojo said three of the van passengers and its driver, Mohammad Samil Ali, died on the spot while three others succumbed while being treated of their injuries in different hospitals.

Maribojo said 17 others, including the passengers of the jeepney and several soldiers on board the Army truck were injured in the accident.
An Army Special Forces combatant named Michael Barrientos, one of the passengers of the 6x6 truck, said the van was in the wrong lane of the highway when it hit the jeepney head-on.

“After it hit the jeepney, it slammed on the side of our truck and  turned-turtle when it got thrown away by the impact of its collision with our truck,” Barrientos said.