Johannesburg - The woman involved in a near-fatal hit and run two weeks ago broke down on Monday when she heard the driver had been arrested.
Lucia Matlou, 32, of Parktown, said she couldn’t believe police had finally nabbed the man who dragged her for almost 50m, fled the scene and left her to die.
“Oh God! Are you serious? Where is he? I’d like to come there now,” she said over the phone as she returned from the hospital for her weekly check-up.
Matlou, who spent the afternoon pressing charges against the driver at Joburg Central police station, learnt that the arrest came as a result of a dramatic chase involving employees at Schmidt Feeds and Seeds in Newtown and eBlockwatch members.
The gruesome hit and run, which went viral and shocked social media users, took place at the corner of Bree and Gerard Sekoto streets, and was captured on CCTV.
In the video clip, Matlou and her landlord’s 20-year-old daughter, Denise Nkomo, are seen walking along Bree Street. As they cross Gerard Sekoto Street, a bakkie travelling in Bree Street abruptly turns into Gerard Sekoto, hits Matlou and narrowly misses Nkomo.
The vehicle drags Matlou several metres without stopping. She somehow falls free, and horrified bystanders rush to her aid.
André Snyman of eBlockwatch said he and members of his group followed various leads after the video was posted on Facebook.
“We managed to trace the vehicle registration number and tracked him (the driver) all the way to Melville, but couldn’t find him. Today one of our members informed us that he was here at Schmidt and that they had apprehended him.
“We rushed here and found that he was, in fact, the man we were looking for,” he said.
An employee, Nkosinathi Gumbi, restrained the driver until police arrived.
He said the man and his friend parked the bakkie outside and walked into the shop.
“I saw the registration number and remembered it from the day of the accident. I confronted him and told him I remember what he did. But he ran off. My colleagues and I chased him and cornered him at a nearby butchery and brought him back to the shop.”
He said the bakkie belonged to someone else and wasn’t registered under his name.
Store manager Marie Jones said she had footage of the driver admitting he knocked Matlou down.
“What he did was disgusting. People who do this deserve jail time. If it were his wife and child, he’d also expect justice to take its course,” she said.
Jones commended everyone who came on board to help, including people on the street.
Meanwhile Matlou, who came face to face with the driver at the police station, said she had asked him why he hadn’t stopped.
“He kept saying he was sorry. I’m emotional right now. I don’t know what to think. He should have stopped for me.”
Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubele said a case of reckless and negligent driving was being investigated.