Five minors dead in Badajoz bus crash

Judge sends driver of digger involved in collision with sports team’s vehicle to prison without bail The 37-year-old man was found to have hashish and cocaine in his system

Civil Guard officers examine the overturned vehicle.
Civil Guard officers examine the overturned vehicle.CLAUDIO ÁLVAREZ

The driver of a digger involved in a collision with a minibus in the western region of Extremadura that left five young members of an indoor soccer team dead on Thursday has been sent to preventive prison without bail.

The 37-year-old man, known only by his initials F. F. M., was found to have hashish and cocaine in his system, according to investigation sources.

The judge is investigating him on five counts of negligent homicide, one count of causing serious injury and another against road safety, judicial sources said.

The accident occurred at 9.22pm on Thursday when the minibus taking the youngsters home overturned on the BA-051 provincial road, just a few minutes’ drive from Monterrubio de la Serena (Badajoz), a village of 2,600 residents where all the players lived.

The 13 other people on board were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

The victims were aged 12, 14 and 15.

The youths were members of the Monterrubio Sports Club, and were headed home after a game

The youths were members of the Monterrubio Sports Club, and were headed home after a game.

The minibus was forced to swerve to the left upon realizing that the excavator was turning, according to preliminary inquiries by the Civil Guard. At that moment, it flipped over the side of the road.

Although the Civil Guard says it has sufficient evidence to believe the digger driver was responsible for the accident, “principally for having tested positive for drugs,” the investigation remains open.

The youths were members of the Monterrubio Sports Club, and were headed home on Thursday after playing a game in Herrera del Duque, a 90-minute drive away. The accident took place just a few minutes before their arrival, along a straight road. There were 18 people on board: 14 minors and four adults.

The regional premier of Extremadura, José Antonio Monago, visited the crash site and announced three days of mourning as “testimony to the pain” of Extremadurans over the tragedy.

The mayor of Monterrubio, Antonio Blázquez, told the state radio network RNE that the local sports center will hold the wake for the five victims if their families so wish.

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