Taxi hit ‘like be­ing struck by light­ning bolt’

The Witness - - NEWS - IN­GRID OELLERMANN • newsed@wit­

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.

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