Crash kills 5 members of family
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Cape Town - A Boland rugby referee and avid player, his wife and three of their children were killed in a head-on car collision near their home in Paarl on Sunday.
Willie Blankenberg, 39, his wife Dorothea, 38, daughter Dorothea, four, Wilbur, seven, and Andrew-Willer, 15, were travelling in the family’s Fiat Uno when they collided with a Toyota Hilux on Paarl Main Road just before 2am.
The Hilux driver escaped injury.
The family had to be cut out of the wreckage of their car with the Jaws of Life.
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk confirmed the incident and said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.
“A family travelling home was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle in the Paarl Main Road. The five occupants driving in an Uno were killed instantly.
“The driver of the other vehicle, a Toyota Hilux, had left the scene and reported to the Paarl police station at a later stage, (having) sustained no injuries.”
Blankenberg was a well-known rugby referee in the Boland region.
His family was devastated by the incident. His sister, Surita Blankenberg, said the family had not taken the news well and she was concerned about her parents.
“He was the eldest and he would have been 40 in November. He was a very quiet person but he loved his rugby. He had played it since he was little.”
Surita said her brother had been married for 18 years and their two other sons - aged 12 and 18 -were distraught.
“It is very hard on the younger one. He still thinks his parents are coming back. Our parents are in Wellington and they are trying hard not to talk about it or think about it all the time.”
Surita said her brother was on his way home after being on the rugby field and fetching the three children from their grandparents. She could not say if he was refereeing or playing.
“They were just a few metres from their house, I can’t say exactly how many, but they were very close.”
The family has always lived in Paarl and Surita said the funeral would be held on Sunday.
Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said two others were killed on the province’s roads over the weekend.
“There were two other accidents where pedestrians were knocked down, one was on the N2 near Mew Way and the other was on the N2 near Modderdam Road.”