Dionisio Pogoy, 42, was excited to go home after a long day at work, but he landed at the hospital instead.
Pogoy was among the 12 persons who got injured in a multiple collision involving nine vehicles inside the South Road Properties (SRP) tunnel past 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Pogoy sustained bruises on the different parts of his body, but his injuries were not as serious as the others. Three of the injured were reported to be in critical condition.
Pogoy told Cebu Daily News that he was on his way to Mandaue City after he delivered some cement in Talisay City when the 10-wheeler truck he was driving was rammed hard from behind by a prime mover.
“I was not able to step on the brake immediately and hit the L300 van in front of me,” Pogoy said in Cebuano.
Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) enforcer Brian Rollo, who was among the first responders, said there were nine vehicles including one motorcycle that piled into one another as a result of the initial incident.
All vehicles involved in the crash were all bound for northern Cebu. Eight of the nine vehicles were on the same rightmost lane of the two-lane tunnel.
“Nagka-domino effect gyud sila kay same lane maong nagkabundol (It was a domino effect, as all vehicles were on the same lane plowed into each other),” Rollo said.
The collision resulted in heavy traffic heading in and out of the SRP since the incident prompted the closure of the northbound lane, causing congestion among vehicles already inside the tunnel but were not affected by the incident.
The traffic congestion lasted for about four hours, or until all the damaged vehicles were towed out of the tunnel at past 8 p.m.
How it started
An initial investigation by the CCTO showed that the nine vehicles involved were a prime mover, a taxi, two L300 vans, two 10-wheeler trucks, a Toyota Vios, a Montero Sport and a motorcycle.
The incident was started by a wayward 60-footer prime mover, driven by Joy Tulag, which slammed into the back of a taxi.
The impact caused the taxi to spin around, which then threw it into the opposite direction and hitting head on a Montero Sport driven by Michelle Arrogancia that was approaching on the other lane of the two-lane tunnel.
The prime mover, running out of control, then hit the back of the 10-wheeler truck driven by Pogoy, which, in turn, hit a L300 van driven by Mark Anthony Lopez.
The Lopez-driven van, in turn, slammed into the back of a Honda City driven by Kathleen Gullen. Because of the impact, Gullen car’s ended up a wreck under another 10-wheeler truck that was in front of the car.
After hitting the taxi and the 10-wheeler truck, the prime mover then rammed into the L300 van driven by Julie Linawan, which in turn hit the side of the Montero Sport that was already hit head on by the taxi.
The incident did not end there because the out-of-control taxi also hit a motorcycle driven by Louie Badajos. Fortunately, Badajos was able to jump out of the motorcycle and sustained only minor injuries. But his motorcycle was a wreck, as it slammed into the underside of the 10-wheeler truck driven by Pogoy.
Gullen is now in critical condition, along with the still unnamed taxi diver. Lopez, the driver of the L300 van, is also in critical condition, according to Nagiel Bañacia, chief of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO).
Bañacia said that Gullen, Lopez and the taxi driver sustained concussions, lacerations and multiple injuries on the different parts of their body.
Lopez and the taxi driver are now confined at the city-owned Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) while Gullen is now being treated at Chong Hua Hospital, a private hospital in Cebu City.
All the six passengers of the L300 driven by Lopez were also injured in the incident. They were identified as Eleuterio Ano-os, Kyle Villa, Roger Aguipo Jr., Jojeth Aro, Larry Monem and Alejandro Empas. They were brought to CCMC for treatment for minor injuries.
The three other with minor injuries were Pogoy, motorcycle driver Badajos and L300 van driver Julie Linawan.
Investigators could not get the name of the taxi driver up to press time since the driver’s side of the taxi was completely destroyed.
“Tungod sa ka kusog sa impact, natuyok ni ang taxi. Unya ang prime mover na igo niya ang nag una sa taxi, which is another 10-wheeler truck (driven by Pogoy),” Rollo said.
SRP has a speed limit of 40 kilometers per hour. But looking at the result of the impact, Bañacia said the prime mover might be running at a speed of 50-60 km per hour.
“Actually naa tay mga enforcers nakakita sa prime mover nga naghunong sa viaduct. Didto palang there is something wrong. Pero nipadayon daw ni siya ug dagan,” Bañacia said. (Actually we have traffic enforcers at SRP who saw this prime mover at the SRP viaduct. From there, they sensed there was something wrong with the prime mover but it still continued towards the tunnel.)