Durban - A Phoenix policeman is recovering in hospital after a motorist allegedly held his outstretched hand in a vice-like grip while dragging him as he drove away.
Warrant Officer Marlin Reddy, 47, who was off duty when the alleged incident happened on Sunday afternoon, said he had to literally run for his life.
He claimed the motorist, from the same neighbourhood, had dragged him for about 10m before letting go. He said the man then tried to attack his (Reddy’s) son with a bush knife when he came to rescue him.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said a case of attempted murder had been opened at the Phoenix police station and a 28-year-old man had been arrested.
Reddy, who suffered abrasions to his knees – the skin on both knee caps came off – and the palm of his hands, said on Monday that he was in his front yard with his son, Jordan, 20, when a man he knew stopped in Bancroft Road in his car.
He said he had greeted the man and reached into his car from the passenger side window to shake his hand. But he was not prepared for his reaction.
Speaking to the Daily News from his hospital bed, Reddy said half of his body was inside the car when the man gripped his hand and would not let go.
When he drove off, he said he had to jog to keep up.
“The car was picking up speed and there was no way I could dive in. I struggled to keep my balance. It happened very quickly. There was no time to scream,” he said.
“I could not keep up when the car increased speed. I ran for my life. I was dragged along for about 10m. As the car turned on a bend he let go of the grip and I fell to the ground.”
Reddy said his son Jordan rushed to his aid, running to the corner of the road where the car had stopped and confronting the driver.
He said a scuffle broke out between the two and the man allegedly pulled out a bush knife from his car and took several swipes at Jordan.
“He throttled my son and with one of the swipes nicked Jordan’s hand between the thumb and forefinger. My son disarmed him, but by then neighbours had intervened.”
Reddy believes the incident was related to the formation of street committees to stop drug dealing and abuse. He said he was a street committee chairman responsible for three streets. “The drug addicts can no longer smoke in the block of flats without meeting resistance from the community.”
Glen Naidoo of KZN VIP Protection said the various street chairmen networked with one another using BBM and WhatsApp.
Reddy said he had thought he was going to die.
“This incident has left my family traumatised. They received threats of our house being attacked,” he said.
Reddy, who was also suffering lower back pain and soft tissue injury, said his guard had been down because he was at home and he knew the suspect.
A policeman for 28 years, he said had never experienced such a harrowing ordeal even though he had worked in the riot unit.
Phoenix PR councillor Sarojini Govender said street committees were important because the police could not be expected to be on 24-hour patrol seven days a week.