Taxi hit ‘like being struck by lightning bolt’
FORMER Pietermaritzburg resident Grant du Bois likened the feeling of his car being hit by an allegedly speeding taxi to being struck by a lightning bolt.
“I can’t explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it … You are in a nightmare …
“It’s like a lightning bolt [hitting you] and the world is flying and spinning around you. You can’t observe anything,” said Du Bois of the accident that claimed the life of his wife, Lynette, 10 years ago on March 16, 2007.
Du Bois was one of three state witnesses who testified yesterday before magistrate Chris van Vuuren at the new trial of a former taxi driver, Sbongiseni Khuzwayo.
The case ended controversially on a previous occasion when the magistrate then hearing the matter recused himself at the point of giving judgment. A fresh trial was subsequently ordered.
Khuzwayo yesterday pleaded not guilty to a main charge of culpable homicide for allegedly negligently causing the death of Lynette du Bois, and to two alternative charges of reckless and negligent driving and inconsiderate driving.
Du Bois and another motorist, Alida Griesel — who said the taxi missed hitting her vehicle that night by a “split second” — both testified that the traffic light was green in their favour when they entered the intersection at West and Longmarket streets.
They were travelling in Longmarket Street when Du Bois’ car, a Toyota Tazz, was struck by the taxi driven by Khuzwayo.
Khuzwayo’s attorney, Zamo Nondaba, said however that according to him the robot was green for him.
She also told witnesses that Khuzwayo would dispute that the point of impact occurred where SAPS accident unit Inspector Frederick Jonkers and Du Bois said it did.
Du Bois told the court he was driving and his wife was a passenger in the car when the collision happened.
At the intersection with Longmarket Street he had stopped at the red robot and as the light changed to green he started to move off slowly.
A bakkie overtook him as he entered the intersection.
“Then out of nowhere there was this massive bang. It was like a lightning bolt … we were hit by this other vehicle and thrown across the road and hit into a pole.”
Du Bois said his car was “crushed” on both sides — on the passenger side as a result of the taxi hitting into it, and on the other it was squashed by the pole. “We had to be cut out of the vehicle.” He said his wife was still alive when they were being cut from the wreckage but had suffered a broken neck. He suffered bruises and cracked ribs. Griesel said she had just overtaken Du Bois’ car when she “heard something like an explosion”.
In her rear view mirror she saw Du Bois’ car and the taxi “spinning”.
Griesel said she never saw the approaching taxi, although she had looked for traffic as she entered the intersection and alleged that the taxi’s lights were not on. Khuzwayo denied this. The case is continuing on October 16.