Two Filipino expats have died and four of their Batteel Bakery co-workers have been injured following a traffic accident on Al Shamal Road early Monday morning.
The collision occurred as seven people, including the driver, were traveling aboard a company bus going south toward Doha shortly after midnight earlier this week, according to several employees who spoke to Doha News on the condition that their names not be published.
As the 25-seat Nissan Coaster passed IKEA, it was struck on the driver’s side by a Toyota Land Cruiser traveling at a high rate of speed, the employees said. The impact caused the bus to roll a half-dozen times.
The driver of the SUV, a Qatari man, was traveling with his wife and is now in police custody, employees said. It is unclear if the couple sustained injuries.
A company memo identified the deceased as Roselyn Villarin and Ruben Evora, the bus driver. Both had been with the company for more than five years, employees said.
In the document, Hisham Saleh Al Mana, chairman of Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Co, which Batteel falls under, wrote:
“Each was an important part of the Batteel Company family. They will be missed and held in high regard with all of us who worked with and knew them.”
‘We’ve lost a family member’
News of the tragedy had already reached at least one customer at the Batteel Bakery Gharafa on Al Ittihad Street, near the Sidra Medical and Research Center, when Doha News visited on Thursday.
The lone employee on duty declined to discuss details of the incident, saying she was friends with one of the victims and had been unable to sleep in recent nights.
Co-workers of the deceased had set up a memorial of flowers, candles and pictures of the victims inside their housing compound off Salwa Road.
“This is the first time something like that has happened,” said one employee who has been with the company for more than a decade.
“The mood here is off. People don’t like to say anything. People are sad. We’ve lost a family member,” he said.
Four employees remain in Hamad Hospital, one with spinal injuries. Another worker has been discharged.
The other passengers on the bus included four Filipinos and one Nepalese worker. There were conflicting reports of the nationality of the employee who has left the hospital.
Reckless driving a widespread problem in Qatar, among locals and expats alike. According to the Qatar Statistics Authority, traffic accidents causing injuries or death climbed 15 percent year-over-year to 5,424 collisions in 2011.
The rate of accidents causing injuries jumped a further 12 percent last year, but the death rate fell around half a percent, as the number of vehicles on the road increased and the number killed stayed the same.
Roughly a year ago, Brigadier Mohamed al-Malki, General Secretary of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, said he would enact an “emergency action plan” to identify common accident spots, review traffic laws and signs and address other road safety issues.