1 dead in Puerto Rico collision

Another passenger in ICU Motorbike fatality on Tinian last Sunday

These photos that were widely shared on social media and WhatsApp yesterday shows images taken by passing motorists of the car accident yesterday in Puerto Rico. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)

One man was killed while another sustained critical injuries early afternoon yesterday during a vehicular collision in Puerto Rico on Saipan that saw one of the victims being resuscitated by the side of the road, as shown in videos of the incident that were widely shared on social media.

The collision between an Artman Corp. dump truck and a silver Honda Ridgeline pickup truck occurred at around 1pm yesterday along Puerto Rico, Middle Road also caused a massive traffic jam in the area.

Department of Public Safety spokesperson Dre Pangelinan confirmed in a statement that the collision resulted in one fatality that, to his knowledge, is the first traffic-related fatality on Saipan this year. The other victim is now in the Commonwealth Health Center’s intensive care unit.

Pangelinan said the driver of the silver Ridgeline pickup truck was released without injuries while his two passengers bore the brunt of the crash. The driver and passenger of the Artman truck were also later released at the scene, Pangelinan said.

As of press time, Pangelinan had no other details on the incident.

In interviews with bystanders, one man who works at a nearby establishment believes the two victims, believed to be South Asian, were catapulted from the silver Ridgeline due to the impact of the crash because they were seated on the truck’s bed.

“As soon as we looked out the window, we saw two individuals on the ground from the pickup truck. We believe they flew out of the truck from the impact. I believe they were in the back of the truck,” he said.

The Artman truck was reportedly southbound while the silver Ridgeline was along Middle Road and turning into the Smiling Cove Marina intersection.

“The Artman truck was headed south and the pickup truck was heading into the marina. They were making a left turn into the marina. The lights were working. I’m sure one of them ran a red light but I’m not sure who,” he said.

He said there were a total of five men involved in the incident: two were in the Artman truck and the other three were in the silver Ridgeline.

Sources said that soon after the crash, Dr. Norma S. Ada, who has a clinic in the building fronting the accident site, was joined by a nurse practitioner who immediately responded to the scene in an attempt to resuscitate the passengers on the ground.

First responders from the Department of Public Safety and Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services came shortly after.

Meanwhile, last Sunday, Jan. 31, at about 1:05am, DPS received a 911 call reporting a motorcycle crash at Tachogna Beach, Tinian. At the scene officers noticed an unresponsive male individual lying off the road a few feet away from a motorcycle. Medics transported the operator to the Tinian Health Center for a physical exam. DPS is currently awaiting final results from THC staff, but it reportedly was the CNMI’s first traffic-related fatality of the year.

Officers interviewed witnesses at the scene stated that the male operator was previously seen at the bar consuming alcoholic beverages before following a group to Taga Beach. Witnesses at the scene also stated that the operator continued driving the motorcycle from Taga Beach to Tachogna Beach, and toward Broadway before driving back toward Tachogna Beach.

Shortly after a loud sound was heard, witnesses rushed to the crash scene and called for police assistance.

This crash investigation remains ongoing but, based on evidence left at the scene, the operator was traveling south before hitting a curb, entering a sidewalk, and into a grassy area. The operator’s helmet was found about 40 feet from the operator and was found to have been used improperly as the chin strap was tied into a knot on one side which did not allow it to be attached to the retention side.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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