Dad loses legs in 320km/* illegal race

By CHARLENE SOMDUTH Time of article published Feb 8, 2019

Share this article:

Durban - AN ILLEGAL drag race cost a father of two his legs after he crashed his BMW M3 at a speed of 320km/* .

An unnamed passenger, 24, escaped unscathed, with only a cut to his finger.

The crash happened on the centre median on the N1 near the Sable Road turnoff at Century City, Cape Town, last week.

Taufiq Carr, 26, from Mitchells Plain, was taken to Vincent Palotti Hospital, where his legs were amputated.

A photograph of a smiling Carr, sitting in his hospital bed, has been circulating on social media.

A video taken from the passenger side of the car on the night of the crash, shows the BMW speeding alongside a second car, a white BMW. A few seconds into the video a motorbike comes speeding through between the two cars.

The man behind the recording can be heard saying: “And again, and again, and again, and again and again.”

The second car starts closing the gap when the video starts shaking and a man is heard saying, “Hey”.

Sparks appear on the screen before the video ends.

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said a criminal case of reckless and negligent driving had been opened.

Carr’s family declined to comment.

For Durban drag racers, however, Carr’s crash is not a deterrent.

The thrill of competing and being under the police radar, say some drag racers, is compelling enough for them to continue.

On Saturday night, Metro conducted a 45-minute operation along the M19 and popular area of Springfield Park, near Makro, where an illegal drag race was intercepted.

Fifty-eight fines, some for unroadworthy vehicles and parking infringements, were issued. Ten drivers were fined for having unlicensed vehicles, one for holding a cellphone, 19 for the lowered suspension of their vehicles, four for not having number plates, and nine for having incorrectly coloured and illegal number plates.

Metro spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said despite no one been caught in the act, the group was preparing to race.

A Phoenix racer, 22, said it was difficult for them to be caught.

“Metro comes in marked vehicles with blue lights, so we can see them from a distance. Because most of our cars are modified, we get out of the area before they reach us. If they clamp down on one area, we will just move to a new spot. We know they don’t have the manpower to be stationed at every possible area.”

A Chatsworth man, 22, who has participated in more than 30 illegal races, added: “This has been going on for decades and no matter what the police try to do, it is never going to stop. Races take place late at night when the roads are not busy.”

He has spent about R65000 modifying his VW Golf 1.

“Street racing is a thrill, but more so is the prospect of being caught. Providing a race strip will not curb this. The thrill will not be the same.”

Parboo, however, cautioned that their operations were ongoing and those caught racing would be prosecuted.

He said in Durban alone, there were almost 30 hotspot areas for illegal races and metro police offices are inundated with complaints by angry residents.

“Apart from the noise, residents are waking up to the sound of crashing vehicles. But when accidents happen at these spots, the racers deny they were racing.”

Some of the hotspot areas include Springfield Park, Sparks Road and Asherville in Overport, Avoca, and the M19 near Reservoir Hills.

Racing takes place from 11pm until the early hours of the morning between Thursday and Saturday - and the gatherings are well planned via WhatsApp, he said.

The messaging service also served to alert racers on when the police are spotted in the area.

Sewpersad said illegal racing was a national problem.

A businessman, who did not want to be named and who participates in legal racing around the country, said the municipality should build a track.

Prethiven Naidoo, who promotes legal drag racing, said a track could boost Durban’s economy.

He said he had submitted proposals to the municipality to use the old airport site but nothing had come off it.

eThekwini Municipality did not respond to questions at the time of going to print.


Share this article: