The carnage after a multiple vehicle crash on the infamous Umgeni Road, which was packed with drag racing spectators on Saturday night. Pictures: Rivaaj Ramdas/Facebook.
The carnage after a multiple vehicle crash on the infamous Umgeni Road, which was packed with drag racing spectators on Saturday night. Pictures: Rivaaj Ramdas/Facebook.
Picture: Nosipho Mngoma
Picture: Nosipho Mngoma
Durban - At least four people, including a pregnant woman, were injured in a high-speed collision involving four vehicles at a notorious drag racing spot in Springfield, Durban, on Saturday night.

The 35-year-old woman, who is 40 weeks pregnant, was leaving a 24-hour eatery after seeing a movie with her husband when their vehicle was caught in the collision.

They asked not be named.

Speaking to The Mercury from the police station where they went to open a case yesterday, the husband said they had stopped at a traffic light and were waiting to turn into Umgeni Road at about 11.30pm when the front of their vehicle was hit by a BMW.

“It hit us after it collided with a Polo and came across Umgeni into Intersite Avenue,” said the husband.

He said there were about three vehicles coming down Umgeni Road but he could not be sure whether they were drag racing. Their car was thrown off the road on to the verge, where it landed on the grass, while the BMW continued to roll.

It hurtled towards bystander Chante Budhoo, 20, so fast she did not have time to run.

“I saw the BMW coming and the Polo crossing the robot and could see they were going to crash. I tried to grab my friend and run but it was too late and I just turned my back and hunched down and the last thing I saw was the white flash of the BMW which was rolling towards us,” she said.

Budhoo was thrown to the ground on impact but was fortunate that the car had struck the traffic light, redirecting the vehicle and lessening the impact on her.

She was taken to hospital where she was found to have soft tissue damage to her hip and cuts on her hands.

The couple were discharged from hospital on Sunday.

Mahomed Azez, who owns ICU CARE Ambulance Services based in Mpumalanga, sprang into action after hearing the collision while at the eatery. The crowd - he believes there were hundreds of people - had already pulled the injured from the three vehicles.

“The fourth car was not involved but it was damaged by shrapnel from the high-speed collision,” he said.

Azez said the damage to the vehicles was indicative of the high speed of the impact but he could not be sure which, if any, were drag racing.

Out of control

The pregnant woman’s father thanked God that his family were not seriously injured. He did not believe his daughter and son-in-law were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that drag racing was taking place in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

“They (drag racers) don’t own that spot, and city (metro) police should do something about it once and for all. It’s out of control. Why can’t there be a mobile station there or even one flashing blue light vehicle every night? There’ll be no drag racing then,” he said.

He laid the blame squarely on metro police for not maintaining a consistent presence, saying their turning a blind eye was condoning the drag racing which he believed almost cost him his daughter and grandchild.

Metro police spokesperson Superintendent Sibonelo Mchunu, commenting yesterday, said they could not be “stuck on drag racing only”.

He believed illegal racing could not be prevented by their being stationed in Springfield, as racers merely moved to another spot.

“It’s a never-ending chase. Blaming metro is unfair, we have to distribute our resources based on emergency needs,” he said.

Even when they clamped down and made arrests, spectators, business owners and staff in the area did not testify, making it impossible to secure convictions, which he believed would serve as a deterrent.

In February, metro police cracked down on drag racing in the area and impounded 22 “modified” vehicles, much to the ire of the owners. They were fined and told to undo the modifications.

The Mercury

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter