Speeder kills traffic officer

2013-09-23 00:00

THE hunt was on yesterday for the driver of a stolen, speeding car that claimed the life of a young traffic officer from Pinetown when she tried to flag the driver down. At the same time, bereaved colleagues said continuing with their job, even in the face of such a tragic loss, was something they just had to do.

Road Traffic Inspectorate officer Thuli Nhlengethwa (35) was knocked over and killed while trying to stop a vehicle for speeding at the N2 Spaghetti Junction.

She leaves behind two young children.

By last night the search was still on for the driver of the car, who fled on foot after ditching the car, leaving a passenger behind.

According to the police, the vehicle was stolen from Roodepoort on Gauteng’s West Rand.

Nhlengethwa was conducting a speed-timing exercise on the N2 Spaghetti Junction with her team, when she attempted to stop the silver Audi, said KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane.

The Audi, which did not have number plates displayed, was travelling at 141 kilometres per hour when the driver knocked Nhlengethwa over and fled the scene.

Other officers on the scene chased the driver of the vehicle, who stopped the car in Booth Road and fled on foot.

South African Police Services spokesperson Jay Naicker said a case of culpable homicide is being investigated.

Police arrived shortly on the accident scene, but the traffic officer had already died.

“We are working with the police and are confident we will catch the suspect,” said Ncalane.

Friend and colleague Super Mokoena said Nhlengethwa loved her job. “She would help everyone, and would sacrifice for others even if it meant she had to go without.”

KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu expressed shock and sadness.

“I am deeply saddened by the unwarranted death of such a young and dedicated officer in the line of duty. It is through such dedicated officers that we fight all sorts of ills on our roads, including criminals who have no value for life. The police will not rest until this criminal is apprehended. Our deepest condolences to the friends, colleagues and the family of our officer who died in the line of duty.”

In November 2011, KwaZulu-Natal principal provincial traffic inspector Ashrina Ramklown (33) from Pietermaritzburg was knocked down and killed while trying to stop a speeding motorcyclist on the N3 near Midmar Dam, outside Howick.

The motorcyclist also died in the crash.

At the time of the accident, Ram­klown, a mother of two, was responding to her Mooi River colleagues’ appeal for assistance in apprehending the speeding motorcyclist, who had failed to stop when ordered to do so.

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