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Nurse killed, 8 injured as truck rams ambulance in Cebu

/ 05:25 PM April 10, 2012

CEBU CITY, Philippines—A Singapore-based Filipino nurse died while eight others were injured when a pickup truck, driven by a man who tested positive for alcohol, hit an ambulance taking a patient to the airport for a flight to Singapore early Tuesday, police said.

The nurse, Trecie Abaño, 44, a native of Bislig, Surigao del Sur, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Chong Hua Hospital.

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The other persons who were rushed to the Chong Hua Hospital  were identified as ambulance driver Juan Cabigas, 38, of Barangay Labangon, Cebu City, patient Michael Jasmin, 37, of San Diego, California,  and the other people in the ambulance—Mahsee Choong, Milan Lester Ningaska, Roy Jumao-as and Datukon Sayyio.

The victims sustained scratches and bruises in the different parts of the body. Choong was released from the hospital but the others were confined.

Jasmin was admitted to the intensive care unit, but it was not immediately clear if it was due to injuries suffered in the accident or because  of an existing condition aggravated by the accident.

The driver of the Toyota Hilux pick-up, Noel Anthony Logarta, 20, of Mountain View Village, Pardo, Cebu City, and his unidentified companion sustained only minor injuries, police said.

P02 Edgar Becoy of the Cebu City Traffic Division said Abaño was escorting Jasmin, who was being taken from Chong Hua Hospital to the Mactan Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City at 12:20 a.m. for a  flight to Singapore.

The ambulance was cruising on M.J. Cuenco Avenue but when it reached the corner of Juan Luna Avenue, a speeding Toyota Hilux pick-up with plate number YHK 500 that was crossing the intersection hit the left rear portion of the ambulance, causing it to overturn, Becoy said.

The Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation  responded to the accident and took Abaño, Jasmin and their five other occupants of the ambulance to the hospital, he said.

Logarta was taken to the Cebu City Medical Center where he was found positive for alcohol in a liquor test, Becoy said.

Becoy said Logarta, who came from Cebu IT Park in Barangay Apas, claimed he was driving at 50 to 60 kilometers per hour at the time. Since the traffic light was flashing, Logarta told investigators, he proceeded to cross the intersection when the ambulance suddenly appeared and he accidentally hit it, according to Becoy.

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A flashing red or orange light is a signal for a vehicle to come to a full stop at an intersection and allow a vehicle with right of way to cross first.

Becoy said a nephew of Abaño vowed to file charges against Logarta, who  faces a charge of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and multiple physical injuries with damage to property.

A taxicab was also reportedly damaged after being hit by the pick-up.

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TAGS: Cebu, Regions, Road Accident
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