A fight against reckless driving
On Sunday, January 4, 2015, my parents, Consuls Rene and Fortune Ledesma of Bulgaria and Monaco, respectively, along with my brother, his wife and their two-year-old daughter, the driver and the nanny were traveling home from a memorable family vacation in Baguio.
While traveling the length of NLEX Southbound near Apalit, Pampanga, late in the morning, the Hyundai Starex my family was riding slowed to a stop as the vehicles in front were stationary. But a tailgating bus owned by First North Luzon Transit, Inc (a subsidiary of Victory Liner) failed to hit the brakes in time and rammed into the back of our vehicle, shoving the Starex forward and smashing it into the rear bumper of the bus in front.
The force of the impact caused the smashed engine of the Starex to burst into flames; the rear of the vehicle was crumpled by the First North Luzon Transit Bus. The burning engine was eventually extinguished by a responding NLEX patrol. If you saw the remains of the car, you would not believe that all the passengers survived the ordeal.
The force of the impact was so strong that my mom was thrown violently from her seat, causing her head to ram against the back of the driver’s seat. This split her head wide open and left her unconscious. The impact left bruises all over her body.
The other passengers in the car also suffered concussions, cuts, and bruises due. They were all lucky to escape alive as they could have been trapped inside the crumpled car, or the fire could have engulfed the car at any moment then.
My mom was picked up by an ambulance sent by NLEX and was transported to a Manila-based hospital to undergo immediate surgery. She is currently recovering in the hospital as of this writing. My parents, my brother’s family, and all those onboard are now living their second leases on life.
No one from First North Luzon Transit was immediately available to render us assistance. Once my sister and I found out about the incident, we tried frantically to get in touch with First North Luzon Transit with their landline that appeared online. But the number just kept on ringing.
There was no one from First North Luzon Transit who immediately assisted us. It was only through the efforts of my brother (who was still injured, in the hospital) that we were able to reach a friend of one of the family members who worked for Victory Liner. It was only through that contact that we were able to get hold of a representative of First North Luzon Transit. Nevertheless, we still had to wait the following day to speak to him personally at the Apalit Municipal Police Station.
To emphasize, my family was not offered any kind of assistance, nor any words of comfort on the day of the accident, notwithstanding First North Luzon Transit’s knowledge of the incident.
Moreover, during earlier attempts on my part to get in touch with the owners/officers of First North Luzon Transit, Inc, I was refused on all occasions.
Although we are thankful that everyone survived with no life-threatening injuries, my family members could have easily just died in the incident as well. I don’t wish the stress, the trauma and the agony that happened to me and my family to happen to anybody else, especially given the response shown by First North Luzon Transit. First North Luzon Transit, Inc. should be held accountable for their actions, not only for my family’s sake but for all other families who share our plight.
The official police report characterizes the incident as “Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Physical Injuries and Damage to Properties.” Prompted by this incident, I was made aware that this was not the first incident involving the bus company.
Among those publicly reported were:
- A First North Luzon Transit bus traversing Balanga, Bataan bumped and killed a pedestrian on Roman Highway on May 6, 2014
- An accident involving a First North Luzon Transit Bus & Five Star bus along NLEX Northbound on October 18, 2013
- A First North Luzon Transit bus on the northbound lane of EDSA burst into flames due to an alleged electrical short circuit on November 29, 2014
- A First North Luzon bus driver went amok near Caloocan City Hall and had an altercation with police where he was shot in the arms and stomach on June 3, 2014
Note that these are only the reported incidents.
Let us not forget that First North Luzon Transit is a subsidiary of Victory Liner, Inc, whose operations have already been suspended several times for deadly accidents. These include a major collision on September 22, 2014, that killed one and injured more than 20 people when Victory Liner bus smashed into a truck along NLEX, and onApril 20, 2014 when another Victory Liner bus figured into a deadly accident in Zambales.
Thus, for the sake of my family and for public safety, I would like to call for immediate action, including the suspension of First North Luzon Bus Transit pending the investigation of the incident, retraining their drivers, checking on the quality of their buses, their processes/services in handling the victims of their accidents, and the structure of their settlement claims.
For now, I am just glad that I still have a mom and dad and brother and sister-in-law and goddaughter whom I can hug and kiss, bruises and cuts and surgeries and all. – Rappler.com