Galeshewe, Northern Cape - An alleged drunk on-duty police officer nearly killed a bedridden Galeshewe man after crashing into a shack with a police vehicle on Sunday morning.
Joseph Mothwaring, 45, was sleeping in his bed in a shack in Ethel Street, Galeshewe, while recovering from an operation he recently underwent, at the time of the incident.
He was awakened by a loud bang at around 9.30am.
“When I opened my eyes, I saw sunlight streaming through my shack and realised that a vehicle had crashed into the room in which I was sleeping. The impact of the crash caused the zink walls and the cupboard, with all the contents, to fall on top of me. My children, who were in the backroom, came inside and tried to pull me from where I was stuck, but the vehicle first had to be pulled out of the shack for this to happen,” a visibly shaken Mothwaring said on Sunday .
Eyewitnesses who gathered at the scene were adamant that the driver of the double cab bakkie, from the police’s Mounted Unit, was drunk.
“We saw that bakkie parked in front of a shebeen down the street shortly before it crashed into this shack. When the driver got out, we could see that he was drunk,” eyewitnesses said.
They added that two of the passengers inside the police vehicle fled the scene after the crash, while the driver told another to also leave the scene because he (the driver) “would sort it out”.
The police have, however, denied that there were passengers in the vehicle. They maintained that the driver was alone at the time of the incident.
However, community members added that while the driver and passengers were not in uniform, the driver was quickly whisked away from the scene by uniformed police officers.
“We don’t believe that the correct procedures were followed. The driver had to be breathalysed because we indicated to the police officers who arrived here (at the scene) that we saw the vehicle at the shebeen earlier, but they quickly took him a way, probably to cover the whole thing up,” they said.
One woman, who witnessed the incident, said she saw the speeding police van while she was walking down Ethel Street.
“That van was speeding down Ethel Street and missed a sharp left turn, driving straight into the shack. The driver didn’t even slow down or put the brakes on. I don’t want to think of what could have happened if there were children in the street or in front of the shack,” Sophia Melato said.
The spokeswoman for the police, Lieutenant Andrea Cloete, said on Sunday that the police in Galeshewe were investigating a case of reckless and negligent driving following the incident.
“It is alleged that the member swayed out for a person who was almost in front of him and lost control of the vehicle before colliding into the shanty. The member was taken to hospital for the necessary procedures but did not sustain any injuries. He was officially on duty and alone at the time of the incident,” Cloete said.
Meanwhile, Mothwaring wanted to know who would be repairing his shack.
“The police vehicle and driver were quickly taken away, leaving my shack wide open in this cold and my wife and children exposed.
“The police did not even come to me to ask if I had any injuries. I want to know what they will be doing about this whole mess now,” he said.
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