BULAWAYO, Tuesday, November 22, 1966 — A threetonne truck careered down a hill . . . backwards. Then it crashed into the verandah of a house.
“It zigzagged down the hill apparently out of control. It was quite frightening”, a witness told Bulawayo magistrate’s court yesterday.
Before the court was truck driver, John Nkomo. He was fined a total of £33 10s (or 36 days) on five counts brought under the Roads and Road Traffic Act.
He was earlier convicted by provincial magistrate Mr RS Coleman on counts of having insufficient foot and hand brakes, steering and lights, driving through a red robot and having an ornament fitted to the front of a car which was likely to endanger other road users.
Mr William R Diplock earlier told the court that he was in his flat overlooking 14th Avenue near its junction with Main Street when he heard a “loud grating of gears”.
He went to the verandah and saw a truck, travelling backwards, zigzagging down the hill. It went about 75 yards before it crashed into a neighbour’s house. “Suddenly the truck shot forward and drove back up the road, it went through red lights”.
The court heard that Nkomo was arrested later by the police. When his truck was inspected both foot and hand brakes were found to be “completely insufficient”. The steering wheel had to be turned at an angle of 120 degrees before direction could be changed.
A vehicle inspector said he also found a “long sharp ornament like the nose of an aeroplane” on the bonnet of the car.
Nkomo admitted his brakes were defective. But he pleaded not guilty to the other counts. “The truck had just come out of a garage. I thought it was roadworthy.”
He also denied driving through a red robot.