By Aaron Recuenco and Dan Estacio
A speeding trailer truck loaded with steel rammed 16 vehicles stuck in traffic jam before it crashed onto a bakery and a house in Sta. Rosa City in Laguna late Saturday evening, killing six people and inflicting injuries on 15 others.
The impact resulted in the toppling of an electric post that hit two motorcycles and two tricycles.
Senior Superintendent EleazarMatta, director of the Laguna provincial police, said the six fatalities include a mother and her two-year old daughter and a one-and-a-half-year old girl. All of them died in the hospital due to serious injuries.
He identified them as Quelah Ayesha Delizo Velasco, 1 ½ year old; two-year old Ariane Kaye Yllera and her 21-year old mother JuvelynFlorescaDelizo; LorelynSumadsad, 22; Jerome Baluya, 17; and his 25-year old brother Jayson.
The driver of the Isuzu Tractor with trailer truck identified as Anthony Bernardo was able to jump out of the truck before it crashed and fled the area.
Supt. Eugene Orate, Sta. Rosa police chief, said the two kids were sleeping at a semi-concrete boarding house at the time of the accident, while the bodies of Delizo, Sumadsad, and the Baluya brothers were found in the bakery.
Fifteen others were injured, including Magdaleno Sumadsad, driver of one of the tricycles, who is in critical condition at the Sta. Rosa Medical City.
Still under observation at Medical City Southern Luzon were Laiza Castillo, who is pregnant; Reynalyn de Guzman, Ronaldo Serrano Sr., Mark Ariel Dignos, Sarah May Dignos, JerwinBaluya, and Juanito Marquez.
Quoting reports from his men, Matta told the Manila Bulletin that the truck suddenly rammed the 16 cars which were stuck in traffic on Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road in Barangay Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa City at around 11:30 p.m.
Traffic investigators theorized that Bernardo might have lost control of the steering wheel or that the brakes of the truck had malfunctioned, and resulted in the grim road accident.
All the motor vehicles are believed to have come from Tagaytay City when they were hit by the truck which also came from the same direction. While the road is straight, police said, the road is downhill and this was also a major factor on the impact of the accident.
No occupants of the vehicles hit died, except for the two passengers of the tricycles.
The driver of the truck was initially identified through a driver’s license recovered from the truck.
During a follow-up investigation, probers confirmed that the designated driver of the truck was indeed Anthony Bernardo.
“We are now conducting follow-up operations to arrest this driver,” said Matta.
Police said the tractor head (RBM-415) was registered to a certain Edwin Dastas, of Putting Bato, Calaca, Batangas while the attached trailer was registered to Malik NausharwanRiaz, of Olongapo City.