THE driver who drove the red dumptruck that was behind the deadly car crash in Barangay Lawaan 3, Talisay City on Friday, December 3, 2021, may have suffered from a heart attack just minutes before the incident happened.
Jonathan Tumulak, head of the City of Talisay Traffic Operations and Development Authority (CT-TODA), confirmed the matter just after he interview the 17-year-old truck boy who accompanied Benchin Udtohan, the driver of the red dumptruck that caused the accident and killed five people and injured 10 others.
Udtohan could no longer testify on what happened during the accident as he died just as he was brought to the hospital after the accident.
Though he survived the accident with only minor injuries, the 17-year-old truck boy was able to flee from the scene out of fear.
Tumulak has not disclosed the truck boy’s name as he is still a minor.
On Saturday, December 4, the truck boy appeared at the CT-TODA office at City Hall to issue his testimony on what happened during the accident.
The truckboy told Tumulak that he and Udtohan had initially came from a quarry in Barangay Lagtang.
The truckboy claimed that Udtohan was fine at that time and that they even had a conversation just before reaching the national highway in Barangay Tabunok.
But the truckboy noticed that Udtohan suddenly fell silent when they got to the Mananga Bridge in Tabunok.
Suddenly, Udtohan’s arms suddenly stiffened while holding the driver’s wheel. Udtohan’s legs also felt the same while stepping on the gas pedal.
Worried, the truckboy reportedly Udtohan to calm down.
“Akong giingnan nga ‘Kuya, madisgrasya ta’,” the truck boy said.
(I told him ‘Kuya, we might get in an accident.’)
But the truckboy claimed Udtohan never heard his words and just continued speeding on until they eventually reached Barangay Lawaan 3 and the accident happened.
Tumulak said they are not ruling out the possibility that Udtohan could have suffered from a heart attack just before the accident.
“We can’t say for certain. We can only be sure once an autopsy is conducted on the driver’s body,” Tumulak said, in Cebuano.
Tumulak also plans to recommend to Lieutenant Colonel Randy Caballes, the city’s police chief, to have Udtohan’s body autopsied to determine the cause of his death.
Tumulak also denied that mechanical failure was behind the accident.
This after they were able to check the truck and found that the brake system was in good condition.
“There was no oil or brake fluid leakage. The brake system was not affected at all,” Tumulak added.
Tumulak said Udtohan was not able to use his brakes at the time of the accident as there were no skid marks in the road.
He said even though the truck was filled with crushed limestone, it was not overloaded and was carrying the adequate cargo as required.
Tumulak added they also spoke to Udtohan’s employer at the quarry.
Quarry managers told Tumulak that even though Udtohan was just working for them for at least three weeks, he was an experienced truck driver since he worked as a quarry trucker before.
Udtohan’s colleagues at the quarry also told Tumulak that the driver had just recently separated from his wife.
But Tumulak cannot conclude if Udtohan’s personal problems may have caused him health problems.