A bus driver died and nearly twenty of his passengers were injured yesterday when he T-boned a cargo truck making a U-turn in Kampong Cham’s Batheay district.
Deputy district police chief Sok Sol said the bus, which belonged to the Olympic Bus Company, was ferrying four Cambodians and dozens of tourists from Siem Reap province to Phnom Penh.
Mr Sol identified the bus driver as Keo Savuth, 37, who died from the severe impact that crushed the front-end of the bus against the cargo truck that was making a U-turn along National Road 6.
“One person died and he was the bus driver, while 19 others, including Cambodians and foreigners, were slightly and seriously injured,” said Mr Sol, noting that the crash occurred at about 1.30am in Chealea commune.
“The reason for the accident is that the cargo truck began making a U-turn and the bus, which was going in the same direction, could not stop in time before smashing into the side of the truck,” he added.
According to a provincial police report, 19 passengers on the bus were injured, including four Cambodians, three Thais, two French nationals, four Germans, two Israelis, three Britons and one Chinese. Six of them were seriously injured, while the other 13 were slightly injured.
Mr Sol said that the crash remains under investigation and noted that the driver of the truck fled the scene after the crash and remains at large.
“We cannot determine who is right and who is wrong yet, but police will do an assessment,” he said. “Our police are using cranes to collect the damaged vehicles to being them to the district office for inspection.”
Chealea commune police chief Luy Kongchhe said the truck driver was likely at fault and must be found and punished.
“When we arrived at the scene, we could not find the truck driver,” he said. “He had already run away.”
“The injured passengers were first sent to the district referral hospital and later they were transferred to a hospital in Phnom Penh,” he added.
Mr Kongchhe said police did not yet know who owned the truck or the identity of its driver.
A representative of the Olympic Bus Company said Mr Savuth was a very careful bus driver and put the blame for the accident on the cargo truck driver.
“We care about the safety of our passengers,” she said. “We actually always have two drivers sitting next to each other to share duties, but the traffic accident still happened because the truck driver was reckless and made a U-turn in the middle of the night,” she said.
“We are all very saddened to hear of Mr Savuth’s death. He was a very careful driver and worked to support his family. I would like authorities to find justice for my driver,” she added.