2 killed, 3 hurt in car crash

Prior to collision, another car also crashed into traffic barrier at Thousand Curve

Two persons were killed and three others were injured during a vehicular accident on Chalan Pale Arnold Road in As Mahetog on Sunday before dawn.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Jason Tarkong said yesterday that the fatalities were a 21-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, both Chamorros.

Tarkong said the woman was the driver of a white 2010 Toyota Corolla, while the man was one of her three passengers.

The two other female passengers—20 years old and 21 years old, both Chamorros—were injured and taken to the Commonwealth Health Center.

A 41-year-old Korean man, the driver of a white 2015 Ford Transit 350 XL van, was injured and treated at CHC’s emergency room.

Tarkong said that speed and alcohol were factors in the crash.

The crash, reported to police on Sunday at 4:30am, happened on the southbound lane of Chalan Pale Arnold Road in As Mahetog in between the intersection to Saipan Zoo and Saipan Ice and Water Co.

Tarkong said investigation showed that the Toyota Corolla car was travelling north when it lost control, crossed the divider, and collided with the van, which was traveling south in the opposite direction.

First responders requested a Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services ambulance, rescue and tow trucks, and a DPS traffic investigator to the scene.

When the first responders arrived, the car was facing east on the southbound lane and its left side had extensive damage. The van, which had moderate damage to its front, was still attached to the car’s left side.

Medics rushed all victims to CHC. A doctor pronounced the male passenger dead at 5:15am while another doctor pronounced the driver of the car dead at CHC’s intensive care unit at 8:56am.

While police have yet to release the identities of the fatalities, it was reported that the female driver was a Northern Marianas College student. In a statement, NMC president Dr. Carmen Fernandez said: “On behalf of Northern Marianas College, we are just really saddened about what has happened. Our prayers and our hearts go out to her family. NMC is willing to help out in whatever way we can.”

At the crash scene, police learned that another white 2010 Toyota Corolla four-door sedan crashed into the traffic barrier by the sharp curve—also known as Thousand Curve in Sadog Tasi—just seconds prior to the As Mahetog accident. The Thousand Curve is located near the As Mahetog crash scene.

Tarkong said the white 2010 Toyota Corolla car in Sadog Tasi crash was racing with the other white 2010 Toyota Corolla that collided with the van.

The car made its way to the Sadog Tasi Mobil gas station. Police responded and interviewed a witness, the driver and two passengers of the car.

Tarkong said the driver and the two passengers, all Carolinian male teenagers, were arrested on charges of minor consuming liquor and open can display. The three were not injured.

An additional charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol was also filed against the 17-year-old driver as his breath test results indicated he was over the legal limit. He was also charged with reckless driving, speeding, failure to maintain right half lane, racing on the highway, and providing false report to police.

Tarkong said one passenger is 17 years old while the other passenger is 18 years old.

Tarkong said eyewitness stated that both Toyota cars were seen racing with each other and they nearly caused the eyewitness’ vehicle to crash.

Tarkong said speed and alcohol were also factors in the Sadog Tasi crash.

Acting governor Victor Hocog recently signed a proclamation declaring December as CNMI Drunk, Drugged, Drowsy and Distracted Driving Prevention Month.

In the proclamation, DPS said so far, there have been 1,730 vehicular crashes in the CNMI this year and 62 of them were alcohol-related, resulting in one-traffic fatality. Sunday’s incident was not included in that statistics.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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