Fatal crash driver tests positive for alcohol
THE driver of the truck involved in a crash in which eight people were killed in Nquthu in northern KZN on Sunday tested positive for alcohol and will face eight counts of culpable homicide.
The unnamed driver, who was injured and is in hospital, has been charged with eight culpable homicide charges, as well as for drinking and driving.
The articulated truck he was driving was found to be roadworthy, the KZN Department of Transport said.
The truck, which was being used as a people mover and was carrying more than 70 passengers, overturned near Nquthu, after the driver failed to negotiate a bend on a well-maintained road.
“It is alleged that the driver tried to run away, but was apprehended by members of the community,” a department statement said.
The KZN Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said that more lives might have been lost were it not for the dedication of the Charles Johnson Hospital staff, who dropped everything they were doing to attend to the accident casualties.
More than 60 patients were taken to the hospital and eight were transferred to Madadeni Hospital for advanced care, he said.
“I really appreciate what the management did in summoning all seven doctors based in and around the hospital as well as nurses from the wards, the maternity section and those who were at the nurses’ home to come and assist,” he said.
“Within a very short time, the doctors and nurses, as well as the Emergency Medical Services Advanced Life Support personnel, had all converged at the casualty section with their resuscitation trolleys fully equipped and started attending to the injured,” he said.
Meanwhile, the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda, despatched senior officials, led by the acting head of the department, Glen Xaba, to visit the survivors and the crash scene yesterday.
Other officials met the families of the dead victims to help them with the funeral plans.
Five people were also killed and four injured near the Pavilion shopping centre on Sunday, with the MEC saying that it was unfortunate that in one day 13 people were killed in avoidable road crashes.
He said that as the festive season approached, department officials would conduct law enforcement operations, focusing on drinking and driving, road worthiness, unlicensed driving and speeding.
The KZN Transport acting head of department Glen Xaba, centre, along with the Charles Johnson Hospital chief executive Margaret Khanyile, visited the injured victims yesterday.
Glen Xaba, KZN Transport acting head, and the department’s spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, left, view the wreckage of the vehicles involved in the accident that claimed the lives of eight people and injured scores of other passengers.