The mayor of Luna, Apayao, and her aide died while her vice mayor, driver, and another companion were injured after the sports utility vehicle they were riding crashed into a tree in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, early Saturday, police said.

Luna Mayor Betty Versola and companion Marlon Taclibon, of Pinili, Ilocos Norte, expired while being brought to the Bangui Hospital, Chief Supt. Ricardo Marquez, Ilocos regional police director, said.

Vice Mayor Josephine Bangsil, driver Jun Ildefonso, and companion Milet Agustin, of Luna, were also taken to the same hospital for treatment, Marquez said.

The incident occurred around 1:20 a.m., while Versola’s group was passing through Brgy. Pasaleng, Pagudpud, on a red Montero Sport (SKP-730).

Initial investigation showed that the vehicle’s driver avoided a carabao along the way, but slammed into a tree in the process, Marquez said. (John Roson)

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