Cop dies after be­ing hit by taxi at road­block

Of­fi­cer, 59, had be­come the fa­ther to a ‘mir­a­cle’ baby two years ear­lier

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - KAILENE PIL­LAY kailene.pil­[email protected]

THE wife of a Dur­ban metro po­lice of­fi­cer who was killed when a taxi crashed into him said an in­tu­itive “feel­ing” pushed her to send him a mes­sage to check if he was safe min­utes be­fore the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

In­spec­tor Jo­han Dey­sel, 59, was knocked down and killed when he tried to stop a taxi south of Dur­ban on Fri­day evening.

He was on of­fi­cial po­lice duty dur­ing an op­er­a­tion out­side Gal­le­ria shop­ping cen­tre when he was hit by the white minibus taxi.

Metro po­lice spokesper­son Su­per­in­ten­dent Glen Ndlovu said they were deeply sad­dened to have lost a long-serv­ing mem­ber.

He said metro po­lice had de­cided to hold a road­block after com­plaints by a coun­cil­lor that taxis and ve­hi­cles had the ten­dency to com­pletely dis­re­gard the stop signs out­side Gal­le­ria Mall.

Since the in­ci­dent on Fri­day night, video footage of the crash has gone vi­ral on so­cial me­dia.

“The Dur­ban metro po­lice wishes to ad­vise peo­ple to re­frain from mak­ing neg­a­tive com­men­tary on so­cial me­dia plat­forms, based on the video on these net­works.

“The video footage starts at the junc­ture where the mem­ber steps over to stop the taxi.”

He said the video did not show the marked stop street.

He also said that prior to the crash, Dey­sel had flashed his flash­light “quite a few times” to in­di­cate that the driver should stop.

A case of cul­pa­ble homi­cide is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by Amanz­im­toti SAPS.

Provin­cial po­lice said a 22-year-old sus­pect was ar­rested at the scene and will ap­pear in the Amanz­im­toti Mag­is­trate’s Court to­day.

Dey­sel’s wife Rina said that at about 7.35pm she sent him a mes­sage via What­sApp to check if he was safe.

“I just got a strange feel­ing and I mes­saged him to ask if he was okay. He replied, ‘Ja, dankie’. At 7.39pm my last mes­sage to him was, ‘Stay safe sweet­heart’. The in­ci­dent hap­pened shortly after that,” she said.

Dey­sel had worked in the po­lice ser­vice for 34 years, with his du­ties rang­ing from pro­tec­tion ser­vices to a dog han­dler. Orig­i­nally from Johannesburg, Dey­sel and his wife of 20 years moved to KwaZulu-Natal in 1996, when he joined the metro po­lice.

Dey­sel, from Winkel­spruit, would have cel­e­brated his 60th birth­day on Fe­bru­ary 19 – days be­fore his “mir­a­cle” baby cel­e­brates her 2nd birth­day.

Rina said that after many years of try­ing, her hus­band’s dream came true when she had a baby girl two years ago. They named her Jo­hané after Dey­sel.

“She was his pride and joy. One of the last things he did be­fore get­ting ready for his shift on Fri­day was give his daugh­ter a bath. They loved bath time. It was their time to have fun. We gave her a bath and he dried and brushed her hair be­fore he got ready for work,” Rina said.

She de­scribed her hus­band as be­ing pas­sion­ate about his work and said he was known as a “straight­for­ward, no-non­sense kind of of­fi­cer”.

“But he was also a kind man who would ed­u­cate driv­ers on what they had done wrong be­fore he charged them.”

She said he was proud of his uni­form and was ex­tremely neat and was al­ways pol­ish­ing his shoes, belt buckle and badge.

Rina said that, as a weld­ing en­gi­neer, she was a woman who worked in a man’s world and her hus­band was her rock. “He was my big­gest sup­porter. He al­ways pushed me to prove to my­self and ev­ery­one around me that I could do any­thing,” she said.

Rina re­counted how, when she had not heard from her hus­band on Fri­day night, she waited for him to re­spond to her last mes­sage. How­ever, it was his col­leagues who ar­rived to give her the news.

“When I saw one of Jo­han’s col­leagues at the door, I just knew. I even looked at him and told him that I knew he would one day come to my door like this,” she said.

Rina said that, as a younger po­lice of­fi­cer, Dey­sel was al­ways at the fore­front and look­ing out for his col­leagues.

“If any­thing, I ex­pected some­thing like this to hap­pen then. But since the birth of our daugh­ter, he was a lot more care­ful be­cause he knew he had this lit­tle one. I never ex­pected this to hap­pen now,” she said.

Rina said that over the week­end Dey­sel’s team ac­com­pa­nied her to the scene of the ac­ci­dent, where they prayed to­gether. She said she was grate­ful to metro po­lice Isipingo and uM­lazi and Dey­sel’s past col­leagues, in­clud­ing his cur­rent part­ner Con­sta­ble Nevesh Nameeku­mar and his fam­ily.

De­tails for his fu­neral ser­vice have not yet been con­firmed.

METRO po­lice in­spec­tor Jo­han Dey­sel.

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