Phone call leads to collision


Emergency medical technicians check the 16-year-old female driver inside a white Hyundai Elantra while a traffic officer interviews the driver of a CTSI fuel tanker during Friday afternoon’s vehicular accident that involved two other vehicles along Chalan Pale Arnold Road at the Garapan/Gualo Rai boundary. The teenager, who complained of pain, was reportedly found at fault for attempting to answer a call on her cell phone while driving. (Ferdie de la Torre)

A call to a young female driver’s cell phone reportedly led to a collision involving a fuel tanker and two other vehicles along Chalan Pale Arnold Road at the Garapan-Gualo Rai boundary Friday afternoon.

The accident, which happened in front of the Saipan Plaza building, triggered heavy traffic for more than two hours in the area and on Beach Road and Quartermaster Road.

The 16-year-old driver of the white Hyundai Elantra was found at fault in the accident, according to Department of Public Safety spokesperson Jacqueline Rae Shepard yesterday.

Shepard said the teen driver tried to answer a call on her cell phone while driving and that—distracted driving—was determined to be the cause of the accident.

Shepard said the teenager and the driver of a Kia Sportage both complained of pain, but no major injuries were sustained.

The DPS spokesperson said the car mishap occurred last Friday at 5:31pm along Chalan Pale Arnold Road near the corner of Ghiyobw Street.

Shepard said the teenager was driving the Hyundai Elantra north when her cell phone rang. As the teenager attempted to answer the call, the car swerved to the right, hitting a northbound CTSI fuel tanker on the front driver side.

After hitting the truck, the teenager panicked and her car swerved into the inner southbound lane, colliding with a blue Kia Sportage on the right passenger side.

The teenager’s Elantra then hit the driver side of a white Toyota Highlander on the outer southbound lane.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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