Manoil Trifunovski, the Durmo company bus driver who was driving the bus which crashed on the Skopje – Tetovo highway last week, in an accident which killed 15 people, left his hometown of Gostivar.

Journalists visiting his home report that his house is empty, the mail left uncollected. The victims and the injured passengers were all from Gostivar, mostly employees returning from work in Skopje, students or people visiting their relatives in the capital, leaving the entire city in mourning.

Prosecutors have questioned Trifunovski, but the investigation is still on-going. Durmo company owner Durmis Beluli tried to lay the blame at the driver, implying that he had a health related episode which caused the crash. One of the passengers, on the other hand, said that he saw the driver struggling with the wheel just before the bus swerved into the opposite lane and through the protective barrier out of the highway, indicating that the cause was mechanical. Prosecutors still haven’t revealed whether Trifunovski was using his phone during the accident, and it was reported that he was within the speed limit.

Beluli faced criticism when it was revealed that he also owns a facility which performs the mandatory annual mechanical checks – ups, and he was therefore checking his own buses, without independent control. The facility was even closed for a while, after it failed to uphold the necessary regulations, but was re-opened shortly afterwards, said the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party.