Night Bus Overturns in Crash Leaving 5 Injured; Driver Flees

A night bus traveling to Siem Reap from Sihanoukville along National Road 6 overturned in heavy rain in Kompong Thom province early Saturday morning, injuring five passengers, including four foreign tourists, police and a passenger said on Sunday.

The driver of the bus, operated by the Phnom Penh-based Olympic Express company, fled and has not been seen since, according to Som Sophy, the head of traffic police in Stung Sen City, where the accident took place.

He said that an analysis of skid marks on the road suggested that the vehicle had been traveling too fast and ran into trouble when it hit a curve on the wet pavement.

“He might have abruptly seen a bridge ahead and tried to brake at the same time as the bus reached the curved point in the road, and this made it overturn,” he explained.

He said the bus driver had escaped before police arrived, and it would be up to the municipal court to decide whether to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Nicolle Raven, 32, from the Netherlands, was traveling with her boyfriend on the sleeper bus when it overturned at about 5 a.m., she said on Sunday. She spoke by phone from her hospital bed at the Royal Angkor International Hospital in Siem Reap City, where she had already undergone two surgeries on Saturday for four fractures to her collarbone.

“It’s like a murder bus, it’s incredible,” she said.

“It was raining quite heavily, and the driver was already driving like crazy the whole time,” said Ms. Raven, explaining that his erratic driving had kept her awake.

“I had the impression that we were running late and he was speeding up to make the schedule. People had already complained to him that he was driving too fast,” she said.

She said that in the chaos after the bus crash, most of the passengers’ luggage remained inside the overturned vehicles, and several people, including herself, had their belongings pilfered by unknown thieves.

“Some things had been stolen from the luggage, small things that were in the side pockets. They opened our bags, that is very clear, and from the sides, small things like headphones and a flashlight were taken,” she said.

She said that the driver appeared to have fled the scene quite soon after the accident, and that he did not assist passengers in evacuating the overturned bus.

“A lot of people got very angry and were screaming at the bus driver, calling him a ‘crazy motherfucker’ and stuff like that. I do not remember seeing him, or his assistant, when it came to having to break windows to escape.”

Eng Seyha, the operations manager for Olympic Express, blamed the crash on poor weather conditions and a “slippery road,” and declined to comment when asked about Olympic Express’ responsibility in the matter.

“Our insurance company will handle this,” he said, adding that all passenger injuries were covered by the company, Caminco.

However, Ms. Raven said that Caminco, other than asking for photographs of her injuries and a copy of the medical report, had been unhelpful.

“They have said that because I am a foreigner my insurance will take care of that, and that they don’t have to pay.

Caminco could not be reached for comment.

An Olympic Express bus was involved in a fatal crash along the same national road in Kompong Thom province in 2013, crossing into an oncoming lane and killing a South Korean man and two of his young children.

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