It was like a scene out of a movie when suspected car thieves, with police in hot pursuit, ploughed into a bakkie parked at the side of the road in Umbilo.
To add to the Hollywood-style drama, once the two victims were free from the wreckage they say they heard three rounds fired by police while trying to apprehend the three suspects, although the police deny there was any gunfire.
All three were arrested.
Danvir Ramdas, 32, of Kharwastan, and driver Mohamed Hameed, 55, of Merebank, were parked in a white Nissan bakkie near Durban China City in Sydney Road on Thursday, where they had pulled over to take a phone call, when a white VW Polo smashed into them from behind.
“It was such a shock because of the shooting as well. You wonder to yourself if you will make it,” said Hameed.
Ramdas suffered a few minor cuts and bruises, while Hameed was left with a cracked shoulder socket.
He added: “It’s even worse to accept because it happened through no fault of your own.”
“One minute we were on the road and the next on the pavement. The impact sent us spinning,” said Ramdas.
“I was involved in an accident about six months ago. The car I was in flipped three times. I’m getting tired of these accidents now,” he said, laughing.
“I was on the passenger side, and Mohamed was driving. The car hit us from the back and we went spinning and were pushed into a pole. We got a shock, but tried to get out immediately.”
Ramdas said he had been worried that the petrol tank might have been damaged and the vehicle would catch alight.
“And that was when we heard gunshots. I heard three altogether and I saw the cops chasing the suspects down the road.”
A policeman at the scene, who cannot be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the suspects tried to flee.
“The three tried to jump out of the car, but we managed to get them. We suspect that the car they were driving was stolen too.”
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said the chase started at the corner of Rick Turner (Francois) and Umbilo roads, over a distance of less than 1km, ending in Sydney Road..
“Umbilo SAPS members were doing their patrol duties when they spotted a suspicious vehicle. The chase ensued and the suspects’ vehicle collided with the bystanders’ vehicle,” he said. “The police managed to arrest three suspects between the ages of 21 and 33.”
Zwane added that they were found in possession of car-breaking implements such as screwdrivers, an Allen key, a drill and computer boxes.
He said charges of reckless and negligent driving and possession of car-breaking implements had been opened by the Umbilo SAPS.
KZN Commwatch co-ordinators Wally Coombe and Marco Accolla, who sent an alert out via their community watch Twitter account, said the police had responded quickly, resulting in the speedy arrests.
“We must definitely give credit where it is due. The police did a fantastic job,” said Coombe.