‘Crash driver’, 17, in court


AF­TER a month in hos­pi­tal, the un­li­censed ma­tric pupil who al­legedly crashed his par­ents’ ve­hi­cle into mu­nic­i­pal work­ers in Phoenix in Au­gust has fi­nally ap­peared in court.

The 17-year-old son of a Veru­lam metro po­lice of­fi­cer ap­peared in the Phoenix Mag­is­trate’s Court on charges of cul­pa­ble homi­cide and reck­less and neg­li­gent driv­ing. He was re­leased into his par­ents’ cus­tody un­til his next court ap­pear­ance.

It is al­leged that on Au­gust 28, while the teen was driv­ing his par­ents’ VW Polo, he failed to ne­go­ti­ate a bend and ploughed into four mu­nic­i­pal work­ers do­ing rou­tine main­te­nance along Tat­ford Road in Sun­ford.

At the time he al­leged he had suf­fered a black-out and lost con­trol of the ve­hi­cle.

Ve­lenkosini Mpan­gose, 38, was killed while Kevin Roop­narain, 30, lost both legs, although one was later re-at­tached dur­ing surgery. He is in a sta­ble con­di­tion at Umh­langa Hos­pi­tal.

Two oth­ers – Thu­lani Chala, 35 and Al­dane Scheep­ers, 30 – have been dis­charged.

For the Roop­narains – Kevin, his wife Roslyn and two chil­dren aged 2 and 9 – the past month had been daunt­ing, said a rel­a­tive.

“We are pray­ing that jus­tice will pre­vail so that this does not hap­pen to another fam­ily,” he said, re­quest­ing anonymity.

The rel­a­tive said this had been the long­est month of their lives.

“At one stage we thought we were go­ing to lose Kevin for­ever, but through prayer and ral­ly­ing to­gether Kevin’s con­di­tion re­mains sta­ble.”

While Roop­narain is in a sta­ble con­di­tion the trauma from the in­ci­dent was tak­ing a toll on him, the rel­a­tive said.

“When he closes his eyes or tries to sleep he can still hear the tyres of the ve­hi­cle screech­ing.

“The mem­ory of try­ing to es­cape the crash haunts him daily, but it’s the sup­port from his fam­ily and staff at the hos­pi­tal which has helped him pull through the or­deal.”

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