A 22-year-old pregnant woman and two other passengers on board a tricycle died at about 9 a.m. yesterday when a cargo truck loaded with 23 tons of sugarcane fell on them in Brgy. Paraiso, Sagay City, Negros Occidental, police said.
Senior Inspector Gabriel Gutierrez, Sagay police chief, said it took an hour for them and rescuers to retrieve the bodies of the victims, from beneath the sugarcane and cargo truck.
Gutierrez said they had use to a crane to remove the cargo truck and sugarcane, which almost flattened the tricycle.
The victims who died on the spot were identified by the Sagay police as Bingbing Alolon, 22, who was reported to be pregnant, Rosita Alob,69, and a certain Indang Ilalim, while Angelito Ilalim, driver of the tricycle, he managed to run away from the scene of incident and survived.
Investigation by the Sagay police showed that the 10-wheeler cargo truck driven by Alejandro Balalalhe was on its way to Victorias Milling Company in Victorias City, and was negotiating a curve on a downhill road in Brgy. Paraiso, Sagay City, when the accident took place.
Gutierrez said the cargo truck fell on its side, crushing the tricycle, which had temporarily stopped in the place, pinning to death its three passengers, under tons of sugarcane and steel.
Almost half an hour before the incident, the cargo truck driven by Balalalhe was intercepted by a traffic enforcer at the poblacion of Sagay, for violation of a city ordinance, which prescribes the allowable height of a sugarcane cargo being loaded in a truck.
After the confiscation of its driver’s license and issuance of a citation ticket, Balalalhe was allowed to proceed to his destination, Gutierrez said, adding that they cannot detain the driver and hold its cargo for such violation, because it was not prescribed in the law.
Violators of the city ordinance are required to pay a mere P200 fine.
Balalalhe is now detained at the Sagay City Police Station, pending the filing of charges for reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide. * GPB