A lorry rammed into a makeshift house in Tasuos commune in Svay Rieng province’s Svay Chrum district at about 3am on Sunday, killing three and seriously injuring one.
Svay Chrum district police chief Pin An said Neang Sophana Dara, 40, was seriously injured in the incident, while his wife, Sak Vanna, 28, and their two sons – two-month-old Sdoeung Darith and two-year-old Sdoeung Phearun were killed on the spot.
“The lorry was travelling in a west-east direction when it hit the house, built on the road shoulder, with a powerful force. It then dragged the house for about 30m and turned it over, killing the mother and two infants instantly,” he said, quoting witness accounts.
The driver had fled the scene, An said, adding that police were struggling to move the lorry, owing to its heavy weight.
According to An, authorities had often reminded people not to live on the shoulder of the road only to be ignored. The makeshift structure, he said, had been used by the family to run a motorcycle repair business.
“There are many stalls being built on the edge of the road, some of which are used to sell food. My team and I told them to move, but they never listened to us. It is the first time a death happened due to such an accident,” he said.
Ouch Saron, chief of the provincial traffic office, said police concluded that the driver had fallen asleep and lost control of his vehicle, which slammed into the house.
“A team of experts examined the lorry and found it to be in good working order. Hence, they ruled out other causes for the vehicle to get out of control,” he said.
At least 1,761 people were reportedly killed and 4,770 others injured in 3,267 traffic accidents nationwide last year, a report released in January by the National Police’s Traffic and Public Order Department said.
It stated that the number of accidents had decreased by seven per cent in comparison to the same period in 2017. The number of deaths and injuries also declined by one and 14 per cent, respectively.
The report further concluded that in Cambodia five people were killed by traffic accidents every day.