Two Killed, Five Injured in Battambang Van Crash

Two people were killed and five injured in Battambang province Monday morning when a taxi van smashed into the back of a truck parked on the side of the road in Thma Koul district, police said.

Ung Sovann, chief of the district police’s public order section, said the Toyota van was operated by the Mekong Express bus company and had been carrying seven passengers when it hit the truck while en route to Poipet City from Phnom Penh shortly after 5 a.m.

Passengers Houy Pheang, 57, and Hun Mane, 25, died on impact while two others suffered serious injuries and three sustained minor injuries, Mr. Sovann said, adding that the drivers of both the van and truck, which had been carrying a haul of sand, had fled by the time police arrived at the scene.

District police chief Heang Buntha said the whereabouts of the van’s driver, Vong Sary, were still unknown as of last night, but that his officers would continue to search for him.

However, Sin Sisaketh, administrative director of Mekong Express, said Mr. Sary had done nothing wrong and was receiving treatment for his own injuries at a hospital in Battambang.

“He did not flee, he just went to the hospital,” Mr. Sisaketh said, adding that he did not know the name of the hospital.

Mr. Sovann said the exact cause of the crash was still unclear but that Mr. Sary might have lost control of the van after being blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. “The driver might have been blinded by the high beams from another truck,” he said.

The section chief added that a lack of skid marks at the crash site indicated that Mr. Sary did not hit the brakes before hitting the truck, and may also have been asleep at the time.

“The van’s driver might have been sleeping,” he said. “Because if he had not been sleeping, he might have seen the truck in front of him.”

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