21 February 2018

Kenya: I Warned Driver Against Speeding, Kikopey Crash Victims Says

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The driver of a North Rift shuttle involved in a crash at Kikopey trading centre in Nakuru County on Monday, killing six people, was speeding and dangerously overtaking, survivors have claimed.

Two victims Tuesday accused the driver of speeding, saying he was competing with another matatu before the crash occurred.

Six people died while four others were seriously injured in the crash that involved eight vehicles.

Speaking at Nakuru Level Five Hospital, the two said the driver was overtaking and at some point, the vehicle was trapped between trucks as he tried to catch up with the matatu he was competing with.

HIT BRAKES

Mr Kanthole Mbula, who broke his leg, said the driver suddenly hit the brakes and tried to return to the right lane after he saw an oncoming truck.

However, the driver's attempt to force his way back into his lane failed.

"Our vehicle was hit from the behind by a truck, making us ram another truck in front of us," he said.

Another victim, Mr Martin Ndung'u, while recalling the moments leading up to the accident, said he had warned the driver several times against speeding.

According to Mr Ndung'u, the matatu was initially being driven carefully when they left Nairobi at around 6pm until the other shuttle "provoked our driver into overtaking".

OVERTAKING

"Our driver decided to overtake and the two kept on racing and trying to outdo each other before the crash," he said.

Mr Ndung'u, who suffered fractures on his limbs and bruises on the head, said he asked the driver to stop competing with the other vehicle but he did not listen.

"I warned the driver against endangering our lives through speeding but he ignored me. This continued until we found ourselves between trucks after the other shuttle managed to overtake," he said.

Gilgil police boss Serah Koki said two people died on the spot while three succumbed to injuries at St Mary's Hospital. A sixth person died later.

THIKA CRASH

Meanwhile, three people are nursing serious injuries at Thika Level Five Hospital after they were involved in road crash Tuesday morning near Blue Post Hotel in Thika, Kiambu County.

The matatu belonging to Kigumo Travellers Sacco was travelling towards Thika from Murang'a when it rammed a lorry at a U-turn near the hotel at 7.30am.

Thika police commander Willy Simba blamed the lorry driver for the accident.

"They are all recuperating at the Thika Level Five Hospital. We are going to press charges against the lorry driver for careless driving because he failed to check if there were oncoming vehicles as he crossed the highway, leading to the accident," said Mr Simba.

Thika traffic base commander Michael Lemaiyan and Mt Kenya Matatu Owners Association chairman Rufus Kariuki described the accident scene as a black spot and called on the Kenya National Highways Authority to block the U-turn.

"Motorists should be allowed to use the Kandara and Blue Post flyovers while accessing the Del Monte farm," he said.

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