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Friday, July 20 2018 @ 08:42 AM EDT

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Two Killed, Eleven Injured in Traffic Accident After Baseball Game

Traffic AccidentsTwo people were killed and eleven wounded in an accident that occurred Sunday in the community of La Loma de Achiote in the province of Colon. Reportedly, all these people were riding in a truck used to transport cattle to the community of El Guabo in Escobal when the vehicle lost control and fell off a cliff. These people who live in Guabo were at a baseball game in Chagres. It is said all of the victims could be related. The Public Ministry arrived at the scene to make the removal of the bodies. The injured were taken to the Hospital Manuel Amador Guerrero and and the clinic in Escobal. Among the wounded is the representative of El Guabo, Edgar Martinez and a woman. (TVN)
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Fire Truck Loses Wheel - Slams Into Taxi (Video)

Traffic AccidentsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Have you ever heard the expression "drive it until the wheels fall off"? Well, in the Republic of Panama at times it seems they have never heard the words "preventive maintenance." This morning a firetruck was driving down the road near the Tocumen International Airport and one of the tires on the truck came off. The errant wheel rolled down the road for awhile, until it slammed into the back of a taxi waiting to make a left hand turn. Fortunately the driver was unhurt. You've got to see the video on Telemetro:



Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Ambulance Crashes Into Chicken Truck

Traffic AccidentsAn ambulance from the 911 emergency service crashed into a chicken truck from the Melo company, when its brakes went out. The driver of the ambulance Nuria González, said they were taking a patient to the San Miguel Arcángel hospital when all of a sudden the brake pedal locked up and they hit the truck, near the old El Triangulo store on Tumba Muerto. The driver González and the other ambulance crew member suffered blows to their body and whiplash. The two wounded were helped by another ambulance and taken to the hospital. (La Critica)

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Utility Pole Crushes School Bus in Brisas del Golf

Traffic AccidentsThe driver of this small school bus miscalculated this morning as he turned left at Brisas del Golf in San Miguelito and crashed the vehicle into a utility pole, which then fell over and crushed the vehicle. Miraculously no one was hurt, not even the driver, who was the only person aboard the bus. The accident left the entire sector without electricity. (TVN)

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One Killed, Three Injured In Bimbo Truck Crash

Traffic AccidentsA traffic accident occurred on Transistmica near the entrance to Chilibrillo in the village of Chilibre in the province of Colon. The collision occurred between a double cab taxi pick up that was hit by a small panel van, on Saturday morning. Speeding was the cause of this accident which left three wounded and one fatality, identified as Luis Flores, who was driving the taxi. (Telemetro)

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Taxi Driver Dies in Traffic Accident Involving Bimbo Bread Truck

Traffic AccidentsThe company Bimbo of Panama reported Saturday they are cooperating with the National Police, the Traffic Division, the Office of the Auxiliary Prosecutor, and other entities concerning the accident that happened at around 9:00 in the morning on the road to Colon where a Bimbo distribution truck with license plate number 583350, crashed into a taxi whose driver was confirmed to have died. In the area where the accident occurred, near the village of Chilibrillo, personnel from the Bimbo company have been present and working together with government officials to follow the established processes, to determine the causes and details of the event, said a press release from the company. "As Bimbo, we greatly regret the death of one of the people involved in the accident, and we are doing everything possible to clarify the situation, cooperating 100% with the investigations. As we have more information we will send first-hand," said Rogelio Forero, the Manager of Administration and Finance of Bimbo in Panama. (La Estrella)
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Two Buses Collide - 19 Injured - One Seriously

Traffic AccidentsA "Red Devil" bus collided with a smaller "Coaster" type bus on the road leading to the neighborhood of 24 de Diciembre, leaving 19 people injured. The "Red Devil" bus was from the Chepo to Transístmica route, while the "Coaster" bus worked the El Parador route. As reported by Omar Smith, the Chief of Operations of the Unified System of Emergency Management (ADD 9-1-1), there was one person who was seriously wounded among the injured, while the rest suffered minor injuries. He made these statements when speaking to RPC Radio. Seven ambulances arrived to care for the wounded. (Telemetro)

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Metro Bus Crashes Into Power Pole

Traffic AccidentsThree people were injured (two adults and one child) in the early morning hours today, Friday, 8 July 2011, when a Metro Bus collided with a power pole in La Cresta, a few meters from from the La Hossana church. Carlos Afu, a member of the Fire Department, said the injured were attended by paramedics and transferred to the St. Thomas Hospital. According to the bus driver, Juan Castro, a truck cut in front of him and that's why he lost control and crashed into the telephone pole, causing the power lines to come crashing down on top of the bus. Inside of the Metro Bus there were about fifteen passengers who broke the windows to get out because the electric doors would not open. The National Police are at the scene, and the access roads to La Cresta have been closed to start the repairs of the post. (Panama America)

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Delivery Truck Tipped Over Near La Joya

Traffic Accidents A delivery truck overturned today on the road leading to the La Joya prison, in the village of Pacora, Panama East, with no reported casualties. The accident occurred when the delivery truck driver tried to avoid colliding with another vehicle. After the accident, part of the goods from the delivery truck ended up spilled on the roadway. (TVN Noticias)
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Negligent Homicide in Panama - And How The Justice System Is Completely Screwed Up

Traffic AccidentsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning I sat down for a minute with Lic. Bolivar Padilla, the criminal law and litigation specialist who works with the Panama Relocation Attorneys. As I came to work this morning I was still thinking about the fatal traffic accident on Monday in which Americans Angela Maddox and Sam Fecanin tragically died. The local La Critica newspaper published photos of the blown left front tire of the tow truck. When the worn out tire blew, the driver of the tow truck lost control, crossed over into the oncoming traffic, causing a head-on collision with the pickup carrying Angela and Sam. There were actually two accidents, the first fatal accident, and then another secondary accident triggered by the backed up traffic. Between the two accidents a total of eleven vehicles were damaged; one 18 wheeler, one small bus, one tow truck, seven cars, and a pickup truck. Two people were killed. About nine others were injured, including the driver of the tow truck who required hospitalization. And all this death, damage, and destruction was caused by one worn out tire. I wanted Lic. Padilla to explain how the Panamanian legal system will probably handle this situation, and what the family members of the victims might expect.

The "Hypothetical" Disclaimer - Right Up Front: I want to emphasize the fact that in my conversation with Lic. Padilla this morning we were discussing hypothetical situations and cases. Of course any formal investigation of the actual accident will be official and complete, and this article in no way should be construed as a conviction of anyone. I simply wanted him to help me understand how the system works in these kinds of cases and accidents, hypothetically speaking. For instance, I don't even know the name of the driver, the name of the tow truck company, or whatever. Our conversation was simply "if this kind of thing happens, then what...?" Hopefully that will keep all of the "innocent until proven guilty" chanting morons at bay. Whatever. I know. Now, with that having been said...

Automatically Referred To The Public Ministry: Panama's Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) automatically refers any traffic accident resulting in personal injuries or death to the local prosecutor of the Public Ministry. The relatively lower level judges in the traffic courts only have the legal authority to hear and determine levels of responsibility in minor traffic accidents resulting in property damage to vehicles, in which there were no physical injuries or deaths. Therefore, the responsibility to investigate this accident will fall to the local "Personeria" (low level prosecutor) who is responsible for covering the geographical area where the accident occurred. Due to the fact that two people were killed, at least nine others were injured, and eleven vehicles were damaged or destroyed, it's likely the case will eventually be sent to a Superior Prosecutor in Panama City because the accident occurred in the Western part of the Province of Panama, and two people died. The relatively low level local prosecutor will only be responsible for conducting the initial investigation, gathering the available evidence at the scene, taking initial statements, etc.

Who Is Responsible? I asked Lic. Padilla about the idea that the driver of the tow truck is probably not the owner, but rather just a low paid employee who was sent out on the road to do his job with worn out and faulty tires on the truck. Would he be held responsible, or would the company (assuming there is one) bear some of the responsibility as well. According to Lic. Padilla, in these kinds of cases the prosecutors will probably press charges against the driver for negligent homicide in the deaths of Angela Maddox and Sam Fecanin. The legal system in Panama is set up so that the person who is actually driving the vehicle in these kinds of cases bears total responsibility for the condition of the vehicle they are operating. The driver had to say "no, I'm not taking that out because it's dangerous." He didn't do that, and he was operating the vehicle with unsafe tires, so therefore he's criminally responsible, as far as the Panamanian justice system is concerned.

The Civil Case Follows: In these kinds of cases, the Panamanian justice system is set up so that there has to be a criminal finding against the guilty party (first) before the victims who suffered damages can go after the driver, tow truck company, insurance companies, or whoever else (second.) The insurance company will simply pay off to the limit of the insurance coverage, maybe $25,000 per person or whatever the levels of coverage were on the tow truck. This, of course, is making the massively huge assumption that the tow truck company had all the rights licences, permits, and insurance coverage - and judging by the condition of those tires there's apparently no guarantee of that. So anyway, the insurance company is relatively easy. The driver probably has nothing or next to nothing, and by that time he will likely be in prison anyway doing time for two counts of negligent homicide, plus. And this is the part that really burns my ass...

The Tow Truck Company Owners Get Away Scot Free: Right now, today, those guys already know what's coming. They are probably selling all of their trucks, liquidating assets as hard and fast as they can, selling the house and cars to Aunt Dora, closing the company, liquidating employees, etc. In three or four years when the civil case eventually goes to trial, there's a decision against them, and damages are awarded - there's nothing left. They just set up a new company with a new name and a new board of directors, and they continue on with their lives like nothing happened. They are (in fact) the ones who should be held responsible for sending a poor employee out on the road with the worn out tires. He goes to prison, the insurance company cleans up the mess, and the ones who should actually bear a level of the civil responsibility run for the hills (and get away with murder, literally.) That, my friends, burns my ass...

Like It Or Not, It Is What It Is: Heads up. I've said before on dozens of occasions - "the most dangerous thing you're likely to do in Panama is drive." Be very careful out there. Unfortunately, in this case resulting in the deaths of Angela Maddox and Sam Fecanin, the accident reportedly happened in a blink of an eye and they probably didn't have time to react at all. Blink - here comes the tow truck - slam. So, they did absolutely nothing wrong except decide to take a trip to the airport. I'll be driving up to talk to the prosecutor who will be investigating this case. I want to follow up and see what happens. And once again, my heartfelt condolences to their friends and family.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Two Americans Killed in Highway Accident (Negligent Homicide?)

Traffic AccidentsDeath came yesterday, Monday, to the highway in the Western part of the province of Panama, killing two persons and leaving about six injured. Americans Angela Louise Maddox, 53, and Sam Lous, 59, died on the highway between Arraiján and La Chorrera when the driver of a tow truck went into oncoming traffic and violently slammed into their vehicle. It was reported that the left front tire on the tow truck blew out, causing it to crash head-on into the blue Isuzu pickup truck being used by the foreign couple. In this same accident was involved a small bus from the San Carlos route that was carrying 29 people to Panama City. Just Coronado, the driver of the small bus, said he saw the collision between the tow truck and the blue pickup truck and he tried to avoid the accident as much as possible, causing him to go into a ravine and several people were slightly injured. The tow truck driver suffered multiple injuries. He was taken to the Santo Tomas hospital where he is in stable condition. The tow truck involved in the accident, according to the police report, was enroute to Campana in the district of Capira, to remove a trailer loaded with cement.

Fatalities - The American couple was traveling from Pedasi on the Azuero Peninsula to the Tocumen International Airport and at 4:30 pm yesterday afternoon, two hours after the tragedy, they were scheduled to board a flight to the United States.

More accidents - At 300 meters from the deadly impact, the driver of an 18 wheeler pulling a 40 foot shipping container crashed into five cars that had stopped on the highway waiting for the road to be cleared from the earlier accident. The 18 wheeler driver violently rammed a Honda van, occupied by a family that was preparing to spend a few days in the interior of the country taking advantage of school holidays. The truck smashed the Honda, a Hyundai, and crashed into other cars. The injured were taken to the Hospital Nicolás A. Solano, in La Chorrera. (La Critica)

Editor's Comment: From the looks of these images, I think I am looking at the left front tire that blew out on the tow truck, causing these fatalities. I've covered these kinds of accidents myself many times, and the only reason to take a photo of the tire like that is if it's the "guilty" tire - the one that blew and caused the accident. The editors at La Critica can't say it but I can - the son of a bitch who was driving this truck should be charged with negligent homicide for driving this vehicle with unsafe tires. His failure to equip the tow truck with adequate tires most likely resulted in the deaths of these two people. Can you see how bald this tire is? Of course it was going to blow out sometime - and it happened to blow at exactly the wrong moment. I hope (and expect) the Panamanian authorities to charge the driver of this vehicle, and maybe the owner if the driver does not actually own the tow truck - with criminal charges in the death of these two people. Someone - either the driver of the tow truck, the owner of the tow truck, or both - should have been responsible enough to put good tires on a vehicle used professionally to generate income, ironically from cleaning up other traffic accidents. The family members of the victims should be screaming bloody murder at the top of their lungs and the US Embassy should get involved on their behalf before the Panamanian government. The Panamanian traffic authorities continue to fail to enforce traffic laws, and as a result people are killed and injured. Someone should be held accountable. Contact me - I'll recommend a good criminal attorney. This is bullshit.

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Victory in Traffic Court, Thanks To High Resolution Dash Cam Accident Video!

Traffic AccidentsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning I had to go to traffic court over an accident that occurred about two weeks ago. You might remember when this accident occurred on Tuesday, 10 May 2011, I published an article entitled And That's Why I Have a High Res Video Camera Running In My Car (Accident Caught On Tape). I have this really cool high resolution dash camera running in my car at all times from Panaguard Alarm Systems, and the video of the accident recorded by this camera turned out to be the key factor in the judge's decision. To make a long story short, I won the case, the taxi driver was fined $50 for running the red light, he was found to be at fault for causing the accident, and now he has to pay for the repairs to my vehicle. It was a slam-dunk victory in traffic court today, and the other dude was severely pissed off. Here's how it went down. Well, for starters, here's a replay of the video, just in case you haven't seen it before.

Get There On Time: If you are involved in a traffic accident in Panama City, the cop will fill out the paperwork and then hand you a notice to appear in court. In my case the accident occurred on 10 May, and the court date was 25 May (today), just two weeks later. When the traffic cop writes "Juan Diaz" on your notice to appear the court is located in the Los Pueblos shopping center, behind the Conway store. My court date was set for 9:00 am, and I got there on time and handed in the slip and my license. Then I waited for almost an hour and they called me at 9:55 to talk to the judge. The other driver, the taxi driver who ran the red light, had not showed up. The judge said no problem, we would proceed without him. Lesson number one - if you're not there you can't defend yourself or present your side of the story. Leave enough time to drive all the way out to Los Pueblos and to get there with time to spare. Don't be late or you will miss the hearing (and lose).

The Judge Loved The Video: When I waiting for my hearing, I saw all kinds of people playing with their cell phones. Many people are now using their cell phones to document traffic accidents and the judge sees this kind of "after the accident occurred" footage all the time. When I told him I had a video of the accident he was not awake yet, and he simply said "sure, let's see it." When I explained that I had a high resolution dash cam video of the accident as it occurred then he got really excited, because that's something he never gets to see. I had also made several freeze frames and screen snaps from the video and annotated them with arrows and time hacks. Like "see, right here at 1:00 you can see that the light had turned green in my favor..." and several others. I also had the still images taken at the scene with my digital SLR showing how I had tried to brake to avoid the accident but skidded on the dirt and gravel in the intersection.

"This Makes My Job Easy" The judge said "this is fantastic, I can clearly see how you had the green light in your favor, how the taxi driver ran the red light and was in the intersection when he should not have been there, that he broke the law and intercepted your lane of travel and caused the accident. I am deciding this case in your favor and against the cab driver. This video camera is wonderful. I wish everyone had one, because it would certainly make my job a whole lot easier." He watched the video several times, running back over a couple of sections, like where the light changed from red to green in my favor, and comparing the video to the stills and screen snaps. Once his mind was made up, the hearing was over and I went back out front to wait for the paperwork to be ready.

The Secretaries Loved The Video, Too: I was playing it on my laptop computer, and I invited the two women who handle the paperwork to watch the video as well. Pretty soon a crowd had formed and everyone in the office checked it out. They all said "that's great" and "nothing could beat that." The judge even came back out to the front office and said this video is even better than what the police can provide with their pole top surveillance cameras. With that, I sat there waiting for the paperwork to be done in order to sign and be gone.

The Taxi Driver Showed Up: As normal for the Panamanian culture, the severely pissed off taxi driver wandered in at 10:15 am, and even though he was an hour and fifteen minutes late for the hearing, he could not believe that the judge had already decided the case, the paperwork was done, he had lost, and that he had to pay a $50 fine as well as the damages to my car. He started raising his voice and shouting at me (I told him to "tell it to the judge" and basically ignored him.) He kept bitching and complaining and yelling, as if that was going to change anything. The secretaries - still impressed by the video and not so impressed by this late and pissed off taxi driver - simply said "sign here" and pushed the paperwork towards him. The taxi driver ended up calling everyone in the office corrupt, and the Chief Secretary in Charge told him to shut the fuck up and get out, or else she would call the police and have him arrested. He stomped off, marching in the direction of the Director's office to vent his spleen. Har. High res video camera 1 - pissed off red light running taxi driver 0.

Doing The Happy Dance: Everyone should have one of these cameras running, all of the time. I have mine set to record the last 30 minutes of driving time, then it loops over. The camera actually records short one minute long videos, complete with the audio in the car. I had to stitch two files together to make the video of the accident, and if you look closely the "seam" is right at about the 1:00 minute mark. Anyway, I can say without a doubt I won this case because of the video. Most importantly, by winning the case I don't have to pay a fine or repair the other guy's car (the damage to my car was minimal.) If it wasn't for the video, it would have been just another case of the gringo vs. the Panamanian, and you know how those things tend to turn out. Buy one of these cameras. Eventually, you'll be very glad you did. And now, I would like to close out this article with the mental image of me doing Matt's "happy dance" around the office...

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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And That's Why I Have a High Res Video Camera Running In My Car (Accident Caught On Tape)

Traffic AccidentsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This afternoon I was driving through the area of Balboa, coming from Niko's Cafe and headed towards downtown. I was in the car with a friend and we were driving along, talking shop. We came upon some traffic waiting to go through the light in front of the McDonald's restaurant, and the foot of the hill below the ACP Headquarter's building. There was a gas tanker truck in the middle lane that was apparently loaded down and heavy. I went to the right to go around him, following a taxi that was in front of me doing the same thing. Lucky for me, I have a high resolution video "dash cam" running in my car all the time, specifically for crap like this. You can see on the video that when I came around the cars in front of me, at about 1:00 on the video, the light in front of us had already turned green in our favor. I went around the truck and was following the other taxi in front of me through the intersection. He went through, and that's why I was surprised to see a taxi cab trying to pull through the intersection (running the red light). I didn't see him coming because he cut in front of the truck, and I didn't get a view of him until it was too late. I stood on the brakes and had all four wheels locked up, trying to avoid the accident, but I slid on some dirt and gravel in the intersection. At least I was able to reduce my speed somewhat and lessen the severity of the blow, but I ended up hitting the guy nonetheless.

Lying Through His Teeth: When the traffic cop showed up the taxi driver said he had the green light. I explained (repeatedly) to both the taxi driver and the traffic cop that "I have the accident on video. He's lying, and I'm going to be able to prove it in court." To put it bluntly the taxi driver thought I was lying, and he challenged me to produce the video and play it for the judge. I can't wait. Not only was he running the red light, he was in the intersection a full eight seconds after the light had turned green in my favor. As you can see in the video, two other vehicles had already gone through the intersection in my direction before the impact occurred. In short, I am going to win this case in court, specifically because I had the video camera running. Without this proof and evidence, it would be my word against his.

Sorry, Alain: When I caught this accident on tape, I immediately called Alain Mulaire of Panaguard Alarm Systems - he gives me all of my cool electronic toys and gadgets like this. He said "hey man, I just put in an order, can you hold off for about a week? I'm expecting some new stock to come in soon." Unfortunately, I had promised the traffic cop I would be putting this video up on the website this afternoon - to put my video where my mouth is - so I can't hold off. I told Alain "I think you're going to be selling a bunch of these dash cams once I put this video on the website." Anyway, give him a call at 6939-2315 or email support@panaguard.com - just be patient if he's sold out. I'll let you know how the court date turns out. I think the taxi driver is going to be getting a fine, and paying to replace the fog lamp that got broke in the accident. And for the record, my Jeep hammered his little (whatever) with practically no damage. In Panama it's good to drive things that have solid steel bumpers out front - it's like bumper cars around here sometimes.

About Using The Right Turn Lane: A lot of people have pointed out the obvious - that I was using the right turn lane to go straight through the intersection. Yup, no doubt about it, you're right. The tanker truck in the land next to me was "heavy" and accelerating very slowly. You know how it is when a relatively heavily loaded truck accelerates, they wind through the first three gears and they are still only doing five miles an hour - it was like that. I was going to use the lane to his right to scoot around him and proceed through the intersection, following the taxi in front of me that did the same thing. This accident didn't occur because I was using that right lane - it occurred because the taxi driver was in the intersection, running a red light, a full eight seconds (or more) after the light turned green in my direction. And for the record, I'm going to show this video to the judge and of course they will see exactly what you all are seeing as well. Should I have been using that right turn lane to go straight through the intersection? No. Did I do it anyway? Yes. Maybe the judge will just call it a "wash" and we each will be responsible for our own damages. I could live with that. But no matter what happens, there's no way I should be responsible for paying the damages to his vehicle, and that's what would have happened if I didn't have the video evidence.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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American Dies in Santa Clara Traffic Accident

Traffic AccidentsOne person was killed and another injured in a traffic accident that occurred at about 11:00 am yesterday morning, Tuesday, 3 May 2011, on the Inter American highway in Santa Clara, Anton, in the province of Coclé. A police officer said "we are investigating to see what might have happened." According to preliminary reports, apparently the driver of a white Nissan Xtrail, who was traveling in the direction towards Panama City, lost control of his vehicle, veered off of the road, and crashed in to the back of an 18 wheeler that was going in the other direction towards the interior of the country. The driver of the Xtrail - the 76 year old American citizen Richard Ellegood - died at the scene of the accident while his passenger, his wife, 72 year old Oderay Ellegood Arosemena, who lives in Chitre, was rushed to the Maternal Child Center in an ambulance from the Anton firefighters. The woman, who had an open fracture of her left arm, as well as bruises and injuries all over her body, was later taken to the Aquilino Tejeira hospital in Penonomé where she was admitted. A rescue team from the Penonomé Fire Department assisted in the work of removing the body, which was trapped in the twisted metal of the truck. The removal of the body took more than an hour. (Mi Diario)

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American Richard Ellegood Dies In Traffic Accident - Wife Severely Injured

Traffic AccidentsAn American citizen, 76 year old Richard Ellegood, died in a car accident on the Inter American highway near Santa Clara in Anton, yesterday morning, Tuesday, 3 May 2011. Ellegood lost control of the SUV in which he was traveling with his companion and they ran into an 18 wheeler. The incident occurred at about 11:00 a.m. The white vehicle, with license plate number 293607, flipped over when it was hit by the truck. Firemen from Anton extracted his wife, 75 year old Oderay "Odi" Ellegood from the vehicle with severe injuries. She became trapped in the wreckage as a result of the accident. The couple live in the area of Chitré. Firefighters from Penonomé also arrived at the scene with special equipment to help remove the man's lifeless body. Residents of Las Guias and Santa Clara insist that drivers pass by the area at excessive speeds. Officials from the Public Ministry arrived to recover the man's body at about midday. (La Critica)

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Speeding Car Flips and Rolls on Calle 50

Traffic Accidents This vehicle overturned on Calle 50 in the early hours of Friday, but the driver, who was alone, emerged miraculously unscathed. The vehicle rolled over and ended up on its side. The accident occurred at a time when there was not much traffic. Witnesses said speeding was the cause of this accident, but authorities are investigating. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: Thank God for seatbelts and airbags in modern vehicles. Now irresponsible speeding idiots can endanger the lives of other drivers and the public in general, but still walk away completely uninjured when the law of averages eventually catches up to them and they crash their cars. Great... Too bad they can't make an "idiot detector" that would sense this kind of thing. When you pull something incredibly stupid it takes over the safety features of your vehicle - "nope, too bad - your ass goes through the windshield - recalculating..." I bed that would slow people down somewhat.

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Crocodile Causes Traffic Accident on Southern Corridor

Traffic Accidents At 5:30 am on Monday morning the driver of a red sedan ran over a crocodile, then lost control of the vehicle and collided head on with a bus on the Southern Corridor. The front part of the sedan was completely destroyed, and the two people in the vehicle were seriously injured, while the bus lost its front wheels, and seven of the 55 people aboard the bus were injured. The parts of the vehicles were on the road, and were removed by police officers. Several ambulances and tow trucks arrived on the scene. Traffic on the roadway was congested due to the accident. Marco Mora, of the Transit Authority, said the bus involved in the accident was a "pirate" that didn't have the permits to travel on the Southern Corridor. The only remaining authorized routes on the Southern Corridor for the "Red Devils" is for Chepo. (La Estrella)
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Bus overturns, one person dies and dozens injured

Traffic AccidentsAccording to several witnesses, two bus drivers were racing one against the other, when the driver of one of the buses lost control, crashed into a taxi and then flipped over on the Vía Jose Agustín Arango, next to the Plaza Carolina. As a result of the accident one person was killed and more than 20 were injured. The bus, with license plate number 369478, crashed into a taxi with license plate number RI-3959, where the victim was traveling, who died at the scene. Most of the injured were taken to the Polyclinic JJ Vallarino, located in Juan Díaz. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: This is one of the primary reasons why the government of Panama is trying to do away with these "Red Devil" buses. Each bus is privately owned and operated. The buses do what they call in Panamanian Spanish "regatas" (races) - because in effect the two buses are in competition for the fares. They "race" on another from one bus stop to the next, with each trying to be the first to arrive at a bus stop in order to pick up the passengers who are waiting there for a ride. So, as they go down their route, they race all the way, passing one-another several times, speeding, and driving recklessly. This is nothing new - it's been going on for decades - and these buses kill people which is why they are called "Red Devils." Eventually the new Metro Bus system will be fully implemented. When that happens the bus drivers will be paid regardless of how many passengers they pick up, and there will no longer be any reason to have these massive buses "racing" through the middle of town at all hours of the day and night.

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Cargo Container Crushes Car in Colon Free Trade Zone

Traffic AccidentsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning a cargo container packed full of linens and materials tipped over as it was being parked and crushed a SUV that was driving alongside. The accident occurred in the Colon Free Trade Zone. At the time of the accident a businessman who works in the Free Trade Zone was driving in the 4X4 with his son. Miraculously, neither of them were hurt in the accident. Apparently the ground where the container was being parked was uneven and that caused it to tip over and fall onto the passing car. (Telemetro)

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Traffic Accident on Southern Corridor Leaves 14 Riot Control Police Officers Injured

Traffic AccidentsFourteen police officers from riot control units were injured today when they were involved in a traffic accident that occurred on the marine section of the Southern Corridor. The policemen were traveling in two pickup-type vehicles (with license plates 80096 and 80140) traveling in a motorcade to respond to the protest and street closures occurring in the area of the 24 de Diciembre. However a car cut in front of them and caused the collision, according to a press release from the National Police. Four of the injured remain hospitalized in the National Hospital and 10 others are in the San Fernando Hospital, where they are recovering from their injuries, and all are out of danger.
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Homeless Man Steals Backhoe, Crashes Into Police Car

Traffic AccidentsA homeless man caused tremendous shock and a massive traffic jam after stealing a backhoe left unattended by a careless operator. Personal from the Cleanliness Authority were doing a cleanup on Via España. The worker in charge of the backhoe climbed down because he had a problem with his foot, a moment of carelessness taken advantage of by the homeless man who climbed in and who began to drive the heavy vehicle away down the main road. National Police units arrived in response to calls from citizens, however when they got there the patrol car they were driving was struck by the homeless man driving the backhoe. They were finally able to control the situation, and no one was injured. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Crackheads will steal anything that's not nailed down. He was probably planning to drive it straight to the metal recycle shop to sell it for scrap. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those kids and that pesky dog...

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Falling Power Utility Pole Crushes Moving Truck Near Parque Urracá

Traffic AccidentsA power utility pole fell on a truck at the moment when it happened to be passing the street that runs in front of the Parque Urracá. Local residents report sparks and fire shot out of this same power utility pole last week because of a short circuit in the transformer. The truck driver would not give his name and was seen posing as just another curious onlooker at the scene, saying the driver had been taken to the hospital, but local residents said that no ambulance had arrived on the scene, and said that at the time when they heard the noise caused by the falling power utility pole, this man was seen hurriedly exiting the cab of the truck. The incident occurred at 9:00 a.m. and following the event several blocks around the area were without electrical power due to the falling power lines. (La Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Wrong place at the wrong time. I wonder why the driver didn't want to give his name or identify himself ... if the description of the event is accurate he was apparently just driving by when the pole happened to fail and fall on him, just bad luck. Maybe he had some kind of a reason, bad licence, a few tons of cocaine in the back of the truck, who knows...

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Two Killed in Traffic Accident in Los Santos

Traffic Accidents A triple car crash yesterday morning left two dead and a woman injured who remains in serious condition. The accident occurred in Los Santos. National Police sources reported that the crash happened on the road from La Villa to Las Tablas, in front of the Anita Moreno hospital, located in the first city. The clash involved an Isuzu, a Ford Ranger, and a Toyota. In the latter, registration number 357153, were traveling 86 year old Leopoldo Osorio, and 69 year old Raul Osorio, who died in the El Vigia hospital, in Chitre. Meanwhile, Estelvita De Leon, who was also in the Toyota, remains confined in that hospital in serious condition. With these two victims statistics in the province increased to five deaths from traffic accidents so far in 2011. (Mi Diario)
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18-wheeler Crashes Into Seven Vehicles in Loma Cova

Traffic AccidentsA driver of an 18-wheeler lost control of his truck and crashed into seven vehicles in the area of Loma Cova, in the district of Arraiján, in the Western part of the province of Panama. A mechanical malfunction in the brakes of the articulated vehicle caused the accident, in which several people were injured. (Telemetro)
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Violent accident leaves six dead

Traffic AccidentsThe car was completely destroyed. Six people died instantly yesterday afternoon, when the car they were traveling in crashed against the head of the bridge over the river Capira. Several bodies were thrown from the vehicle and ended up lying on the pavement. At about 6:00 pm the driver of the car carrying three men and three women, including a minor, lost control and flipped several times on the road. Witnesses said the car slid on its side about 100 meters near the entrance of Campana, until it crashed violently against the bridge. A cooler, speakers of all sizes the glass of the Nissan Sentra B-13 were destroyed as part of the tragic scenario that was observed at the site. Two of the women and one man lay dead on the pavement on the bridge and the rest of the bodies were in the car. Speeding might be the cause of this fatal accident, according to preliminary reports given by authorities. (Panama America)

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"The Gringo Is Always Wrong" In A Panamanian Traffic Accident

Traffic AccidentsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning just after 10:00 am I received a call from my 17 year old son. He was involved in a minor traffic accident near his school. He has his own car and a learner's permit (you can't get your regular license until you're 18) and in fact he's a very good and safe driver. As he was leaving the school, be backed out slowly and a taxi cab drove into this back bumper. It was a very slow speed accident, with practically no damage to my son's car, and on the taxi only a headlight was broken. Anyway, he did the right thing, called me, called the insurance company, and called the traffic police. The insurance company guys showed up relatively quickly, but it took three hours for the traffic cop to show up.



Hit From Behind: Now obviously, my son was backing out of a parking spot and the cab was driving up the road. And, he hit my son from behind (the front of his car impacted the back of my son's car.) Normally, in these kinds of circumstances, my son has the responsibility of pulling out slowly, checking for oncoming traffic, and making sure that the way was clear before pulling out. And, the taxi would have the responsibility of driving at a reasonable rate of speed and stopping to avoid a collision if someone is backing out. They both share part of the blame, and it will be up to the Traffic Court judge to decide. But, that's not the part that pissed me off...

The Traffic Cop Lied On The Form: She actually wrote up the accident saying that the taxi cab was sitting still in the middle of the road, and that my son backup up into him, causing the accident. It was an obvious case of "the gringo is always wrong" that we've seen in Panama frequently. Hopefully the photos will speak for themselves. The damage was minor - like less than $100 bucks all around - and more importantly I turned this into a teaching opportunity for my son so that he now knows what to do, who to call, etc. The traffic cop even said "this is Panama" to me - meaning - the Panamanian is right. Anyway, there's no sense in trying to buck the system. In this country the "justice" system, including the National Police, are completely biased against foreigners and in favor of the local Panamanians. My advice would be to just relax, go with the flow, and try to reduce the damages and cost. I want to hear what the judge has to say, and I'll probably end up paying for the guy's headlight. Big deal... At least nobody got hurt and that's the important thing. But this "screw the gringo" thing bugs me - always has, always will.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Expect Delayed Implementation Of Law Regarding Minor Traffic Accidents

Traffic AccidentsThe general director of the Transit Authority and Land Transport (ATTT), Jorge Ricardo Fabrega said on Monday January 31 he would submit a request to postpone by a month the implementation of the Executive Decree that regulates Law 21 of 28 May 2010, on minor accidents. The new law was to have taken effect starting on 1 February 2011. Fabrega told La Prensa yesterday, on Friday, that he received a letter from the Panamanian Association of Insurers, in which they expressed their support for the new law. However, the association found that they still need more time to make certain adjustments for their insurance brokers to be well prepared for the new standard, Fabrega said. The Director of the ATTT said on Monday he would submit a request for the postponement to the Minister of Government, Roxana Mendez, who will them have to pass it on to President Ricardo Martinelli. Also, the official reiterated that this is a good initiative because, he explained, is one of the elements that "we are taking to reduce the effects of traffic jams during periods of construction caused by the projects the government intends to do." According to Law 21, as amended by Executive Decree No. 958 of December 10, 2010, any driver who is involved in a minor accident must carry and complete a single page form that was created for such cases. If a driver is involved in a minor accident, then, according to Law 21 - they should immediately remove the vehicles from the roadway to avoid traffic congestion. (La Prensa)

Editor's Comment: As usual in this country, nothing ever happens on time. Everyone has had more than eight months to prepare for this new law, but they only "woke up" once the Executive Order was published. Anyway - whatever. Now there will be a delay and eventually it will be implemented, sooner or later.

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Download New Minor Traffic Accident Form Here

Traffic AccidentsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Starting on 1 February 2011, everyone who is driving in Panama is supposed to have a copy of this new form in your car. They passed and implemented a new law which covers minor traffic accidents. The "spirit and intent" of the law is to allow for drivers to exchange information and allow them to move their vehicles out of the roadway to not block the flow of traffic. A "minor accident" is defined as one in which there are no injuries, and when the vehicles are not so badly damaged that they can be moved and driven safely. The Panamanian news media has done a lot of street interviews about this new law, and everyone seems to be in agreement that when a traffic accident occurs, it will be a rare occurrence indeed when both parties agree on who was at fault. Since everyone is supposed to have insurance on their cars (however most don't and there's little to no enforcement of that law either) this is going to be an interesting couple of months until everyone gets accustomed to the new rules. Anyway, you can download the new form by clicking on this link. Note - this hyper link won't take you to another webpage, the form will simply download to your computer as a .pdf file (in case you got confused.)

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Truck Crash Knocks Down Three Telephone Poles, Knocks Out Power

Traffic Accidents A truck crashed into a utility pole and the impact knocked down a total of three poles, with no reported injuries, this Wednesday morning in the area of Vista Hermosa in Panama City. The accident knocked out power throughout the sector and caused a massive traffic jam on Via España and Simón Bolívar (Transístmica). (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: Power is still out at my house, and it's been out all morning since the accident.

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More Than Two Dozen Injured In Accident Between Bus and 18 Wheeler

Traffic AccidentsTuesday night ended in chaos after an accident between a bus of the Tanara - Parador route and an 18 wheeler in the sector of Felipillo, in the Eastern part of the province of Panama. The bus crashed into the rear of the truck when the bus driver tried to make a pass. Then, the bus driver lost control and crashed into a ditch. A total of 19 injured people were taken to the Teaching Hospital in the 24 de Diciembre, other were taken to the San Miguel Arcangel hospital and the San Judas Tadeo hospital. Those who were seriously injured were hospitalized in the Social Security hospital or the Santo Tomas hospital. It took more than 10 ambulances to move the more than two dozen people who were injured in this accident. (Telemetro)

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