The Star Late Edition

Cops ‘in shock’ after collision kills 2 cyclists

- YUSUF OMAR

ON SUNDAY Thereza Kruger made a New Year’s resolution to do Honours in accounting. Yesterday she begun training for her other love, cycling, planning to complete this year’s Cape Argus.

But hours later she and her cycling partner died after their tandem bicycle was hit by a police van.

Kruger, 48, and Hendry Raats, 53, died yesterday when their bicycle was hit by a police van on the R550 in Kliprivier. Both were from Alberton, south of Joburg.

The two police officers in the vehicle escaped uninjured.

A case of culpable homicide is being investigat­ed.

”They (the offenders) should be handled the same way as any other driver in this country.

“They have opened a case for manslaught­er. It should be a charge of murder,” said her niece Sonia du Toit, 31.

Du Toit described Kruger and Raats as “good friends”.

Du Toit leaves three children while Raats had two.

Details of the accident are still hazy and the only witnesses appear to be the officers involved.

“I understand a VW Golf went past them (at) a speed which pulled them a bit (into) the road because of the force of the wind. A police van came from behind them and hit them,” said Du Toit.

Police spokesman Tshisikhaw­e Ndou said the officers had been travelling from the Kliprivier police station when the accident happened at about 9.45am.

“We are investigat­ing a case of culpable homicide but no arrests have been made as yet,” said Ndou, adding that the officers were being treated for shock.

Helivac emergency response owner Jean-pierre van Tonder was on the scene of the accident and said: “From the position of the bikes and bodies, the police van appeared to be travelling in the same direction as the bicycle. This is absolute negligence. It’s not a road where cyclists could be hiding behind bends or not visible,” he said, adding that the two were dressed in bright cycling kit.

“How this vehicle didn’t see the cyclists I have no idea. It’s a long, straight stretch of road. You can see in front of and behind you for 3km. The police van mowed into the grass for some distance before stopping. It was definitely travelling at quite a speed.”

More than 20 cyclists died on SA roads last year. “And that’s just the ones we know of,” said Cycling SA spokeswoma­n Siska Austin.

“Those are only the recreation­al cyclers, not the commuters. We don’t even have those figures. There is no accurate register of cycle-related road deaths.

“Cycling SA is aware of the problem. If everybody obeyed the rules, things would go better. Action needs to be taken.”

 ??  ?? VULNERABLE: Hendry Raats and Thereza Kruger were killed when a police van ploughed into them while they were riding in Kliprivier, south of Joburg, yesterday.
VULNERABLE: Hendry Raats and Thereza Kruger were killed when a police van ploughed into them while they were riding in Kliprivier, south of Joburg, yesterday.

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