By Prince Sunduzani
EIGHT people were seriously injured after a police officer allegedly pulled the handbrake of a speeding pirate taxi causing a pile up involving three vehicles in Bulawayo yesterday.
Witnesses said the police officer was among the injured while his female colleague fled to the nearby Mabutweni Police Station as morning rush hour commuters bayed for her blood.The accident happened at about 8.30AM at the robot-controlled intersection of Khami road and Nketa Drive in Mpopoma suburb.They said the red pirate Honda Fit vehicle skidded across the wet tarmac and slammed into a Toyota Corolla before careening off into a head-on collision with a truck.
Mr Raymond Chinyama, who witnessed the accident, said there was a deafening bang as the city centre-bound Corolla flew into the air before crashing to the ground about 10 metres from the point of impact.
Four people in the Honda Fit, including the driver, all three people in the Corolla and the driver of the truck were rushed to hospital.
Acting Bulawayo chief fire Officer Mr Linos Phiri said the injured were taken to Mpilo Central Hospital.He urged the police to be careful when dealing with pirate Honda fit drivers as they usually exhibit behaviour which leads to accidents.
Commuters who were waiting for Kombis scurried for cover as debris from the crashes showered the area.“I had never seen anything like that in my life. It seemed as if I was watching a movie. I saw a speeding Honda fit approaching the robots, all of a sudden it started skidding then rammed into a Corolla. The Corolla flew into the air and landed on its wheels,” said Mr Chinyama.
“People scattered in all directions to safety. I ran to the Honda Fit which was the most damaged to try and help the passengers out. There was also a possibility of a fire breaking out.”
A passenger in the Honda Fit said the police officer and his female colleague posed as commuters and got into the pirate taxi.
The passenger said when the car was in motion, the cops told the driver he was under arrest and ordered him to drive to Mabutweni Police Station.
“Instead, the driver accelerated towards a red robot. The male cop who was seated in the front passenger seat screamed in terror and grabbed the handbrake,” said the passenger who still appeared dazed.
An onlooker said the vehicle skidded across the rain-drenched road as passengers screamed at the top of their voices.
“When the dust settled, the female cop staggered to the roadside and her male colleague lay motionless on the road. Angry fuel vendors beseiged the female cop and she dashed to the safety of the police station which is a few metres from the scene,” said the witness.A police officer who was at the scene and spoke on condition of anonymity said contrary to what other witnesses were saying, the Honda fit driver ran a red robot and he suspects the cop pulled the handbrake to avoid a collision.
The Chronicle observed angry residents hurling obscenities at the injured police officer who was still lying on the ground.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi could not be drawn to comment on the issue, saying he did not have the facts.
“I cannot comment on that issue as I do not have the facts. Can you get back to the Bulawayo police spokesperson. Currently I’m not aware of that issue and I can’t answer, sorry,” he said. The Chronicle