14 killed in Davao del Sur road crash

Update (6:49 p.m.)

DAVAO CITY – Fourteen persons were killed when a utility van ferrying employees of a coconut firm rammed into a 10-wheeler cargo truck in Barangay Astorga in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur past noon on Sunday.

Senior Supt. Samuel Gadingan, Davao del Sur police director, told the Inquirer that the fatalities were passengers of the Hino UV van owned by Franklin Baker Co. based in Sta. Cruz.

Gadingan said the van was on its way to Davao City at around 12:30 p.m. when the driver overtook another vehicle in Sitio Lantawan. He failed to notice the incoming truck.

“Witnesses said the driver also appeared to have lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the incoming truck,” he said, adding that the utility van was wrecked.

Gadingan said initially that the 12 Franklin Baker employees died on the spot while four others were injured, including the driver, Efren Presores. The employees were identified as Jonathan Dadong, Nina Itchon, Joel Cedeño, Durson Adlog, Recmar Bautista, Maria Fe Regino, Roy Itchon, Jayson Tusan, Rannie Cabal, Alfredo Beringel, Vicente Sanico, and Ron Gie Rada.

The Sta. Cruz police identified the cargo truck driver as Teodoro Batiocan.

“However, based on the latest report reaching us, two more died. The driver and another injured passenger were still being treated. The driver was to be transferred to a hospital in Davao City,” he added.

Batiocan and his assistant, who were unscathed in the mishap, were now under the custody of the Sta. Cruz police. An investigation is ongoing.

Gadingan urged drivers to always think of their safety and that of their passengers.

“We do not know when accidents would occur so it would be better to be safe at all times. Avoid driving too fast and do not overtake when the situation is tight,” he added. /ee

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