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Bus driver jailed for fatal crash

By Auxilia Katongomara

A 60 year-old Inter-Africa driver has been jailed for an effective 12 months after a bus he was driving was involved in an accident that killed four people.

Esigodini magistrate Mr Tawanda Muchemwa jailed Makawa Ronald Hamuzofi for culpable homicide following the October 2016 accident that occurred in Esigodini.

The bus was heading to Bulawayo from Chipinge when it was involved in a head-on collision with a Mazda Demio at the 47km peg along the Beitbridge-Bulawayo road.

Hamuzofi had pleaded guilty to culpable homicide.

In passing sentence, Mr Muchemwa said Hamuzofi’s conduct was grossly negligent resulting in the death of four people.

“The accused person despite that he has been a driver for the past 18 years was grossly negligent because it was raining and he tried to stop to pick a passenger and applied emergency brakes. This resulted in the bus encroaching to the other lane killing four people on the spot and injuring 52 others who were on board,” said Mr Muchemwa.

The magistrate sentenced Makawa to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended six months on condition of good behaviour within the next five years.

Prosecuting, Mr Jafta Nyika told the court that on October 2 last year at the 47-kilometre peg along the Beitbridge-Bulawayo road, Hamuzofi negligently drove an Inter-Africa Yutong bus with 62 passengers on board.

Mr Nyika said the bus swerved to the right side of the road colliding with the Mazda Demio resulting in the death of the driver and three other passengers in the car.

The prosecutor said Hamuzofi’s negligence included “failing to keep a proper lookout in the circumstances, failing to act reasonably when an accident seemed imminent, travelling at an excessive speed under the circumstances and failure to keep the vehicle under proper control.”

In mitigation, Hamuzofi through his lawyer Mr Thulani Ndlovu of Sansole and Senda legal practitioners said he was travelling below the designated speed of about 60 kilometres per hour and was not grossly negligent.

“The circumstances that led to this charge are unfortunate in that the accused applied brakes intending to pick a passenger on the left who was being drenched by rain but the bus swerved to the right, a situation that can be attributed to the fact that the road was wet,” said Hamuzofi.

In addition, Hamuzofi said he was a breadwinner with seven children and has to live with emotional stress, pain and suffering for contributing to the death of another human being.

He said he had already lost his job of 18 years and had no prior conviction.The Chronicle