Calistus Iwunze from Polokwane was one of the survivors of a taxi accident on the N1. Picture: Masi Losi
Calistus Iwunze from Polokwane was one of the survivors of a taxi accident on the N1. Picture: Masi Losi

12 killed on Tshwane roads

By Graeme Hosken Time of article published Feb 7, 2011

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In one of Tshwane’s worst road death weekends in recent times, 12 people were killed in seven road accidents across the city, six of them in an horrific taxi smash on the N1.

The taxi crash, one of two around the capital, took place when a minibus taxi travelling from Joburg to Polokwane on Saturday afternoon crashed into the back of a construction truck between the Atterbury and Lynnwood off-ramps. Four people died at the scene and two of the injured died later in hospital.

Traffic was brought to a standstill as emergency services personnel and police closed off the north-bound lanes of the highway while medical helicopters from ER24 and Netcare 911 landed to airlift a critically injured young boy and an elderly man to Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

The force of the impact, which left seven passengers injured, tore the front of the taxi apart and saw the vehicle spinning and rolling across several lanes throwing passengers, their possessions and wreckage across the highway.

A survivor, who emerged from the wreckage virtually unscathed - clutching a car door and vehicle light which he had bought in Joburg for a car he is building in Polokwane - said the accident had been horrific: “I can’t bear to think about it. Every time I close my eyes I hear people screaming and crying. We were telling the driver to slow down, but he wouldn’t and when we saw the truck it was too late,” said Calistus Iwunze, a Nigerian national, before walking to Menlyn Park Mall to catch another taxi.

Emergency personnel believe had he not been holding the door in front of him while sitting in the back of the taxi, he would have been killed by flying debris.

Emergency personnel said the two, who were airlifted to hospital, were still in critical condition.

A policeman, who asked not to be named, said two of the injured who were taken to Kalafong Hospital had died overnight, while the remaining three, who were taken to Dr George Mukhari and Tshwane District Hospital were in serious, but stable condition.

He said that a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.

Tshwane Metro Police spokeswoman Louise Brits said: ”In the second taxi accident, on the Mabopane Highway, a motorist was driving his Toyota Camry towards the city on the south-bound lanes when he went off the road and on to an embankment.

“As he drove on to the embankment the man lost control of his vehicle, which spun back into the south-bound lanes facing oncoming traffic.

“As the car came to standstill a taxi, which was approaching the vehicle, collided into the side of it killing a motorist,” she said.

It was not known whether the motorist was from the taxi or the Camry. Brits said that a short while later a pedestrian who was walking along the Bultfontein Road near the Rooiwal Power Station was killed when he was knocked down by a motorist driving a Ford Bantam bakkie.

“At this stage it is not known whether the pedestrian stepped in front of the bakkie or the motorist drove off the road and hit him.”

She said that in another bakkie accident a motorist was killed and another seriously injured when two bakkies collided on the R55 and Mahunde roads in Atteridgeville.

“At this stage the cause of the accident, which is still being investigated, is unknown,” she said.

Brits said in the third bakkie accident for the weekend a motorist was killed and five others injured when a Mazda bakkie and Toyota Corolla collided at the Schoeman and Festival streets intersection in Hatfield in the early hours of Sunday.

She said that while paramedics and emergency personnel were attending to the injured from the accident a motorist was killed on the N4 Platinum Highway near the Rosslyn off-ramp when he allegedly lost control of his car and crashed.

“In the remaining accidents a 44-year-old motorcyclist was killed close to his house in Proclamation Hill when he lost control of his motorbike and crashed into a tree and then a gate on the corner of Colbalt and Oliewen streets.

“The accident occurred five houses away from where the man lived,” she said.

Brits said the number of accidents and road deaths had made it an extremely bleak weekend for the city’s emergency personnel.- Pretoria News

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