By John Manzongo
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 officers 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. The Herald