Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So who is really to blame?

I can't say that I've ever been a member of a police force, but I have read a few detective novels. While that doesn't make me an expert investigator, I think I know a thing or two about why the AGO hasn't filed any charges in last year's tragic accident that resulted in the death of a beautiful young soul.

The headline from the Marianas Variety read, DPS: AGO has yet to charge driver in fatal collision. It seems to me that the AGO hasn't filed any charges because there's really nothing to charge the guy with in the first place.

Here's an excerpt from the story:

(Department of Public Safety Commissioner Clyde K.) Norita, in an interview, said traffic investigator Flor Estabillo recommended that the driver be charged with reckless driving and vehicular homicide.

Wow, that's a tough price to pay. But the guy is at fault so he deserves it, right? Okay, so lay it on me. What did the guy do wrong that caused the accident?

Norita said surveillance camera at establishments near the area where the accident happened showed that the truck was traveling on the inner lane.

“All commercial vehicles should operate on the outer lane not the inner lane,” he said. “We talked to some witness, we did calculations, measurements, we got video footage, statement from the operator — everything is there; it’s a clean cut investigation, so all we’re waiting now is the prosecution of this case.”

So are they saying that the driver of the truck was at fault for the accident on Middle Road because he was driving in the inner lane? Is that really an infraction these days? And is that really what caused the accident? Surely there's more to this.

Maybe the officer in charge of the traffic section can help clear this up by shedding a few additional details:

Sgt. Tom Blas, patrol section officer-in-charge who was the head of the traffic section at the time of the incident, said the driver committed auto-traffic violations when he operated the truck.

According to Blas, the truck was traveling on the wrong lane and was going "over 35 miles an hour" based on skid measurements and calculations.

How "over" is "over 35 miles per hour?" Are we talking 36mph? So if the guy is driving down the middle of Middle Road and in his lane and at the prescribed speed (based upon DPS investigation), would the accident have been avoided?

The guy slammed on his brakes to try and avoid the accident. It's not as if the victim was creeping into the outer lane from the parking lot, right? What was the victim doing at the time?

Deleon Guerrero was on her way to a barbecue party in Chalan Kiya when her 1997 Honda Civic, which was about to make a left turn, collided with the truck on May 20, 2007.

Maybe she bolted out into traffic thinking that she had ample time to make the turn. The guy was in the inner lane but it's not as if he was flying down the road, right? Perhaps the accident was her fault?

Blas said preliminary investigation indicated that the victim, a former Miss Marianas Teen runner-up, could have caused the crash, but follow-up investigation showed that (the truck) driver was in violation of traffic rules.

So are they saying that the driver of the truck was at fault for the accident because he was driving in the inner lane of Middle Road? No way! Come on, Clyde. "Reckless driving and vehicular homicide" hardly fit the bill in this case.

You can't hammer this guy because of that. Why not go after former Rep. Ana S. Teregeyo who pulverized a kid in Dan Dan on April 19? DPS cited the kid at fault for the improper operation of his self-propelled two-wheeled "vehicle," as per DPS, CNMI Vehicle Code Title 9 subsection 5352:

"Any vehicle entering the intersection shall stop at the entrance to a through highway and yield the right of way to other vehicles which have entered the intersection from the through highway or which are approaching so closely on the through highway as to constitute an immediate hazard and shall continue to yield the right of way to the approaching vehicle until such time as he can proceed with reasonable safety."

It gets worse when you read the reporter's description of the incident:

Teregeyo’s vehicle was heading north on Holiday Drive while the boy was heading west on Independence Loop. The minor entered Holiday Drive and collided with Teregeyo’s vehicle.


The boy collided with Teregeyo's vehicle? Are you kidding me? I think a more accurate way of depicting the situation is:

Teregeyo’s vehicle was heading north on Holiday Drive while the boy was heading west on Independence Loop. The minor entered Holiday Drive where he was struck by Teregeyo’s vehicle and thrown from his bicycle.

If these two cases are indicative of the way our DPS traffic section operates, I think we've got a shit load of problems in Susupe...