Driver of ill-fated Don Mariano bus dies

MANILA, Philippines – He didn't make it to Christmas. The driver of the ill-fated Don Mariano bus that plunged off the Metro Manila Skyway last December 16 has died, radio station dzMM reported Monday evening, December 23.

Carmelo Calatcat, 39, died Monday night, 8 days after the fatal crash that killed 18 people. The radio station quoted the driver's cousin Efren Risomadero. The radio report also said that Calatcat's live-in partner Ledelyn Mondelanget was in the hospital when he died. 

Parañaque Doctors Hospital, where he was confined, has yet to issue a statement. Rappler called the hospital, but no one from the hospital administration was available to confirm the information, staff said. They have gone on Christmas break, the hospital staff said.

Calatcat was the driver of the bus that plunged off the Skyway and fell on top of a van on the service road below the elevated highway. (READ: Bus plunges off Skyway, lands on van)

17 people died on the scene, while another died after being rushed to the hospital. Around 16 others were injured.

Police charged Calatcat on December 17, with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, multiple physical injury, and damage to property. Citing a survivor's account, authorities said the driver was overspeeding. Another witness said on radio that the bus went over 80 kph.

Calatcat was said to have lost control of the bus, which made a zig-zag path. The bus the railings and fell off the elevated highway.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board later suspended the bus company's 78 units from operating, pending completion of investigations.

With the driver's death, the toll from the accident rises to 19. – Rappler.com