TOP science journalist Christina Scott was killed yesterday when she was run over by a car while giving a colleague a driving lesson.
Scott has been lauded as transforming science journalism in South Africa and paved the way for young journalists in the field, and was a president of the South African Science Journalists’ Association.
A close friend, Lynne Smit, said she had been giving parking lessons to an intern at Research Africa offices in Observatory yesterday morning when the incident happened. They had been using Scott’s car.
“(Scott) jumped out of the vehicle to guide the intern into the parking spot. It seems that the intern’s foot slipped or she hit the accelerator too hard and hit Scott,” Smit said.
She said the intern had not seen Scott crushed between the car and another vehicle.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut confirmed that the woman had been detained at the Woodstock Police Station.
“A 30-year-old woman is being detained at the Woodstock Police Station after an accident involving a pedestrian in Observatory. She will be facing a charge of culpable homicide,” Traut said.
He said she would appear in court tomorrow.
Said Smit: “It was just a tragic accident. A double tragedy. We have lost a friend. I have known her for nine years. We met at a science conference and she is one of the kindest people I know. I feel for the person who was getting the lessons because she must be very traumatised by the incident.
“She was very passionate about science and got many people involved in science.
“This is a huge loss not only for journalism but for the science profession.
“She changed a lot of people’s lives and got South Africans to be involved in science through her passion for it.”
She said the former Metro FM producer left behind three children, Ally, 12, Ben, 9, and her adoptive daughter Nosipho.
Scott, who was born in Canada, had been working for Research Africa for about two years. She was also a presenter for SAFM’s Science Matters and for many years worked as a producer at Metro FM.
Anso Thom, an executive member of the South African Science Journalists’ Association, said Scott’s death would “leave a void”.
“The association is absolutely shocked and saddened by the passing of Christina. She leaves a huge void in science journalism. She mentored a lot of young science journalists who have gone on to succeed.
“We are also sad for the intern and we hope she gets through this tough time. We will give her all the support she needs to get through this. This is no one’s fault and we know that Christina mentored her and wanted her to succeed,” Thom said.