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Durban - The son of a Verulam taxi owner on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to culpable homicide charges relating to the 2014 deaths of a mother and daughter in an accident on Inanda Road in Verulam.

Reecel Smith is accused of causing the deaths of Ammurdarnal Moodley, 88, and Devanammah Patchappen, 59, when he lost control of his Ford Figo and it drove into oncoming traffic, colliding with a Mercedes-Benz.

State witness Tyrone Pynne told the court that on the day of the accident he had been drinking with Smith, who received a call that his father needed to be fetched from a Verulam tavern.

Pynne said he sat in the front passenger seat while Smith drove. Jeremy Davis and Ashley Govender sat in the rear. He said Smith overtook four cars at high speed, lost control of his vehicle at a bend and went into oncoming traffic, hitting the Mercedes-Benz.

“I went blank after that. All I remember is waking up in hospital.”

Smith’s defence attorney, RK Nathalal, said his client’s version was that, in fact, it had been Pynne who was driving. He said Smith’s version was that they had gone fishing at La Mercy beach where they had been drinking and Pynne had asked Smith to take him to see his girlfriend in Trenance Park.

Nathalal said Pynne drove the car from Trenance Park.

Pynne denied Smith’s version.

Ashley Govender corroborated Pynne’s version that Smith had been driving.

Silvia Govender, who was driving the Mercedes, broke down while testifying. She told the court her mother and sister were in the back seat while her daughter was in the front.

Speaking to the Daily News after court, she said testifying brought back horrific memories of the accident.

“Memories of me standing out there on the road, screaming for the paramedics to help my sister because she was just lying there. It reminded me that the accident landed my mom in a wheelchair and she was in an induced coma for a week. And on a Sunday she passed away,” she said.

Govender had suffered tragedy earlier when her husband was shot dead in 2006. “In 2011 his killer was sentenced, but he appealed and is basically a free man at the moment while the appeal is ongoing,” she said.

The trial continues.

Daily News