Fiery end to car chase

2014-11-17 00:00

THE horror smash that claimed the lives of six people at the weekend will be probed by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

A dramatic high-speed chase by Metro police officers preceded the crash, which saw a C-Class Mercedes-Benz slam head-on into a Nissan Tiida while driving the wrong way on the M4 Ruth First Freeway.

Both cars burst into flames.

The Ipid investigation is expected to run concurrently with a Department of Transport investigation, which will pin down the events that led to the fatal collision. Relatives identified the victims in the Mercedes-Benz as Kapil Juggath, Sanvir Juggath, Sahish Daya, Shaylan Moodley and Luke Naidoo.

As the investigations get under way, the effort to trace the still-unidentified driver of the Nissan continues.

A senior Metro Police source, who could not be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press, confirmed that Ipid had been notified of the crash.

“The chase, which involved the white Mercedes-Benz and members of the Metro Police, was reported to Ipid and their investigation will begin in earnest,” he said.

The officer said that the probe into the police’s involvement in the crash was in keeping with procedure.

“Because the accident took place during a police pursuit, it can be said that the deaths of the occupants of both vehicles took place during police action, and any such death needs to be properly investigated,” the source said.

“This investigation will likely focus on the accounts of the officers who chased the car before it drove the wrong way on the freeway in an effort to escape. They will also likely check with the CCTV control room to see if any part of what took place in the early hours of Saturday morning was caught on camera,” he added.

RescueCare spokesperson Garrith Jamieson described the accident as horrific.

“When our paramedics approached the accident, they could see the fire from a distance. When they pulled up they found two vehicles engulfed in flames and immediately called the Durban Fire Department to assist.”

“There was nothing that we could do. [The victims] had been trapped in the mangled wreckage,” Jamieson said.

The Sunday Tribune reported that the Metro Police had confirmed that officers chased the vehicle from Florida Road before it had joined the motorway.

Superintendent Geraldine Stevens was quoted as saying that officers had responded to reports that an occupant of the Mercedes had brandished a weapon.

Metro Police spokesperson Eugene Msomi could not be reached for comment.

Repeated attempts to contact Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini proved unsuccessful.

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