Couple die on wedding day

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Copy of nm Ernest (38756110)

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Ernest Van Rensburg

Durban - A former Durban couple on honeymoon were killed in a head-on collision near Margate just hours after their wedding in Durban on Saturday.

A 15-year-old boy, on holiday from Joburg with his parents, died in the same accident on the R61.

Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said by the time emergency teams arrived, the couple and the boy, who was in the other car, were dead.

The driver of the other car was seriously injured and was recovering in a South Coast hospital on Monday night.

Ashlee Reddy, 30, and his bride Deepika, 27, originally from Durban but living in Joburg, were on their way to the hotel at San Lameer, where they had planned to spend their honeymoon.

“They were so excited,” Ashlee’s brother-in-law, Dhenesh Singh, said on Monday.

Copy of nm  Ash and deepika (38756111)

The horror of South Africas roads was brought home again this week with the death of newly wed couple Deepika, left, and Ashlee Reddy in a crash on the R61 near Margate.

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He had last seen the couple at about 10.30pm.

They had wed in an elaborate ceremony in Merebank.

“It was a big wedding, there were about 600 guests,” Singh said.

Deepika had been a glowing bride and Ashlee the picture of a gentleman.

After the ceremony, the wedding party had moved to Ashlee’s family home where the couple were given a grand send-off.

After having courted for three years, the young professionals were excited to be starting a life together.

“We had joked that my in-laws wanted a granddaughter,” Singh said.

The two families were struggling to come to terms with the deaths.

“When we were informed of the accident early in the morning, we were all just crying.”

By Monday afternoon, hundreds of mourners had congregated at Ashlee’s family home.

“They were fantastic, happy-go-lucky people,” Singh said.

Their funeral will be on Tuesday. All who knew the couple have been invited to attend. In keeping with tradition, the bodies will lie at Ashlee’s family home and then at Deepika’s before proceedings move to the Clare Estate crematorium.

Ernest van Rensburg’s son, also Ernest, was also killed in the accident. The 15-year-old and his family had been staying at the Lalanathi Caravan and Camping Park in Melville, north of Margate.

“We live in Alberton, but we holiday at the coast every year,” Van Rensburg said.

Ernest jr had gone for a drive with a family friend late on Saturday night.

“The police phoned us just after 1am to tell us they had been in an accident,” Van Rensburg said.

The family was severely traumatised. “Ernest had just celebrated his birthday, on December 8,” Van Rensburg said.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said a case of culpable homicide had been opened and police were investigating.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport’s Kwanele Ncalane extended his condolences to the families.

“Even one life lost on our roads is one too many,” he said.

With the festive season now under way, the department has begun bracing itself for the thousands of tourists who flock to the coast at this time of year.

Almost 1 000 traffic officers have been deployed and regular roadblocks are being carried out.

On Monday, a roadblock near the old airport saw 570 cars pulled over and 98 drivers charged with various traffic offences ranging from driving without a valid licence to driving an unroadworthty vehicle.

N3 Toll Concession spokeswoman Andy Visser said high traffic volumes had been observed entering the province all weekend.

These had peaked at the Mooi River plaza between 11am and noon on Saturday, when more than 2 000 cars were passing through every hour.

It was quiet on Monday, but Visser said she was bracing herself for a second wave to begin on Thursday.

In a separate accident, a light goods vehicle veered off the road and landed in a canal off Bellair Road on Saturday night. ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said the driver broke a leg and was taken to hospital.

bernadette.wolhuter@inl.co.za

The Mercury


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