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3 drivers arrested in connection to deadly road accidents in SE Turkey

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Three drivers who were involved in three separate road accidents in southeast Turkey over the weekend that claimed the lives of 35 people have been arrested, Turkish media outlets reported.

The three accidents in Gaziantep and Mardin provinces took place one after the other on Saturday.

The first accident involving a bus killed 15 people and injured 31 on a highway in Gaziantep when the bus crashed into first responders from an earlier accident. The victims included journalists, firefighters and emergency workers.

A second deadly accident a few hours later, 250 kilometers (155 miles) away in Mardin, which also occurred as emergency services were tending to an earlier accident at the scene in which four people died, claimed the lives of 16 people and injured at least 26 others after a truck driver hurtled into a group of people in Derik.

Turkish media shared footage of a driver losing control of his truck, then careening towards nearby vehicles and pedestrians as they try to flee.

The two truck drivers who caused the accidents in Mardin were arrested over the weekend after appearing in court on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

One of the drivers, Umut G., told the court that his brakes gave out and the truck accelerated. He said he lost control of the truck after he turned the wheel hard to the right in order to avoid crashing into the other vehicles.

The driver also denied claims that his truck was overloaded and poorly maintained.

The bus driver who caused the accident in Gaziantep, Abdulkadir M., was also arrested by a local court on charges of involuntary manslaughter over the weekend.

Turkey has a poor record of road safety. According to the government, 5,362 people were killed in traffic accidents last year.

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