9 November 2012

Kenya: Nine Killed in Matatu-Police Truck Crash

Ngarariga resident in Limuru look at the lifeless bodies of the 8 passengers strewn all over the road after an accident between a matatu and a police van yesterday morning Photo/Njenga Gicheha

Nine people were killed in a road accident at Ngarariga in Limuru on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway yesterday. Nine others were seriously injured in the accident involving a Lari police station lorry.

The lorry was heading to Limuru with only a police driver and the 14-seater matatu was coming from Limuru town heading to Githunguri.

Ngarariga chief Michael Kang'ethe said among the dead was Geoffrey Kigera, 8, a Standard One pupil at ACK Primary School who in the matatu. Relatives wailed uncontrollably for losing their loved ones.

Kigera died on the spot together with three other passengers, a woman and two men, while five others died while undergoing treatment at Tigoni, Kijabe and Kiambu hospitals where they had been taken.

Lari police deputy police boss Jonathan Kisaka said the tout and the driver of the matatu died on the spot while the police driver constable Chripus Thuranira died at Tigoni hospital.

He said they could not immediately establish the course of the accident, the third on the highway this month. However, witnesses said the lorry was speeding. They said it veered off its lane rammed the matatu head on.

"The lorry was speeding. The driver lost control. The matatu had just finished climbing the slope and the two clashed. The impact killed the driver of the matatu and the two occupants who were sitting at the front seat," said witness.

Another witness said the lorry driver "is a renowned careless driver" and when he was negotiating a junction at the Nyambari shopping centre, which is about half a kilometre from Lari police station, he almost went off the road.

He said the driver was speeding and could not concentrate on the road "as one hand was on the wheel and the other on his neck trying to straighten up the collar of his shirt".

"So, when he realised the lorry's brakes had failed, it was too late for him and he lost control. It's also known that he is an occasional careless driver and today, he was not currying any prisoner. So, we wondered what the hurry was for," said the witness.

By the time of going to press, only three of the victims were in hospital in critical condition. The two damaged vehicles were towed to the Tigoni police station.

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