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Cape Town - The distraught sole survivor of the horror matric car smash says his friends would still be alive if he had been behind the wheel.
Nazan Klaasens, 20, was sleeping in the back of his mother’s Toyota Corolla when the car was crushed by a Golden Arrow bus in the early hours of Saturday morning.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Voice, Nazan reveals he had asked his friend, Keenan Smith, 18, to drive him – and their two friends Leigh Anne Swail, 18, and Kelly-Jade Ford, 18, home from Clifton beach because he was sleepy.
Kelly was mom to a 22-month-old son, Alex.
The trio all attended Mondale High School in Portlands, Mitchell’s Plain.
Nazan says he only remembers dozing off in the backseat and then waking up in hospital and receiving the news that his friends were dead.
“I am still in shock and I am still upset, it could have been different because I would have been the one driving. I miss my friends,” Nazan said. “For all the families involved, I want to apologise for what happened.”
Nazan returned to his Woodlands home on Monday evening after he was discharged from Groote Schuur Hospital.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology student had to receive stitches to his head. His face is swollen and a patch covers his right eye.
Nazan pieces together the events which led to the crash along Church Way and Spine Road in Strandfontein.
He tells how Keenan came to watch him play for his local soccer team FC Tygerberg in Blue Downs on Friday.
Later the young men linked up with Kelly and Leigh in Cape Town. Then they decided to visit Clifton beach.
“We went to Clifton and when we left there, that is when the accident happened,” added Nazan.
He says he was previously involved in a car crash when he was feeling tired, so he decided it was best that Keenan drive them home.
He took a seat in the back, behind the passenger’s seat, next to Leigh before dozing off.
“I told him [Keenan] I was tired and asked him to drive home,” Nazan recalled.
“Before, I had an accident because I had been tired. I fell asleep behind the passenger seat [on Saturday].
“I don’t remember anything – I only remember waking up in hospital. An inspector of the police came and told me my friends were dead.”
Now Nazan says he knows God has given him a second chance – a chance his friends will never get.
“I feel good to be given a second chance, to live life to the fullest, because they [friends] can’t,” he explained.
Nazan’s mom Freda Klaasens, 43, said she was relieved to have her son at home safe.
“On Saturday, I didn’t know if it was him or Keenan lying on the ground,” she said. “When I saw a picture of Keenan, I fell to the ground. I trust God to strengthen Nazan – especially since he has to face the families.”
Police have since opened a case of culpable homicide.
Golden Arrow officials are also carrying out an investigation into the tragedy.
*This article was published in the Daily Voice