7 pupils in­jured in po­lice, kombi chase

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - — (Pic­ture by Me­mory Man­gombe)

A man walks past a com­muter om­nibus which over­turned af­ter ram­ming into two other ve­hi­cles while re­port­edly flee­ing po­lice in Harare CBD yes­ter­day morn­ing.

SEVEN school pupils es­caped death by a whisker in Harare yes­ter­day when a com­muter om­nibus they were trav­el­ling in over­turned along Kwame Nkrumah Av­enue while po­lice of­fi­cers on a mo­tor­cy­cle were in hot pur­suit.

The in­jured pupils were from Churchill Boys’ High School and Roo­sevelt Girls’ High School.

Af­ter re­al­is­ing that the kombi had over­turned and caused a pile-up ac­ci­dent, the po­lice of­fers sped off from the scene.

Their po­lice sta­tion could not be es­tab­lished at the time of go­ing to print last night.

Chief po­lice spokesper­son Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Char­ity Charamba con­firmed the ac­ci­dent, say­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions were still in progress.

“A com­muter om­nibus, which was be­ing driven by an un­li­censed Missy Svo­mochera (25) was pick­ing up pas­sen­gers from an un­des­ig­nated point in the city,” she said. “When po­lice ap­proached him, he switched on the ve­hi­cle’s en­gine and sped off and the po­lice pur­sued.

“We are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing what hap­pened with the po­lice of­fi­cers af­ter the ac­ci­dent.”

The driver of a pri­vate ve­hi­cle in­volved in the ac­ci­dent with the com­muter om­nibus, Mr King­stone Mhako, said: “The ro­bot was in my favour, giv­ing me the right to pro­ceed and half­way into the in­ter­sec­tion, I saw a com­muter om­nibus pop­ping up in front of me and it was too late for me to brake and I plunged into it and it over­turned.

“The po­lice bike, which was pur­su­ing the com­muter om­nibus, dis­ap­peared dur­ing the chaos. I have just vis­ited the in­jured school pupils at Parireny­atwa Hos­pi­tal and they told me that the po­lice chased the com­muter om­nibus from Chin­hoyi Street up un­til Sam Nu­joma Street where the ac­ci­dent oc­curred.”

Mr Mhako said Govern­ment should in­tro­duce safer mech­a­nisms to con­trol er­rant com­muter om­nibus driv­ers.

“The po­lice should just book the ve­hi­cle num­ber plate and fol­low up through Cen­tral Ve­hi­cle Registry and ar­rest the cul­prits or force the owner to ac­count for his/her driver,” he said.

“The fine for such an of­fence is maybe $20 or $30, but I just lost a ve­hi­cle worth $9 000 and lives of 10 school pupils could have been lost.”

In April, Snr Asst Comm Charamba said throw­ing spikes at mov­ing ve­hi­cles was il­le­gal and po­lice of­fi­cers found en­gag­ing in such prac­tices would be dealt with ac­cord­ingly.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, spikes should only be placed in front of ve­hi­cles when of­fi­cers sus­pect the driver might not stop at a road­block.

In De­cem­ber, a traf­fic po­lice of­fi­cer was as­saulted by mo­torists and res­i­dents of High­field, Harare, for al­legedly caus­ing a com­muter om­nibus ac­ci­dent in which more than 14 pas­sen­gers were in­jured along Wil­low­vale Road.

On Jan­uary 25, 2017, a 43-year-old woman was se­verely in­jured af­ter a po­lice of­fi­cer placed a spike un­der a com­muter om­nibus she had just boarded along Prince Ed­ward Street in Mil­ton Park, Harare.

As she was about to dis­em­bark, one of the spikes pierced her right leg above the an­kle.

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