Teen and nephew escape hijack ordeal

2009-08-21 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG teenage boy is traumatised after a hijack ordeal in which two men pointed a gun at his head and threatened to kill him and his four-year-old nephew on Wednesday afternoon.

Collin Hartley (18) and his nephew, Aviwe, were hijacked and told they would be killed, but were able to escape when the car’s gears locked and the engine stopped running.

The two boys have no physical scars, but Wednesday’s nightmare will be with them for a while. “I could not sleep last night. I am very afraid; everything is still very fresh in my mind. It was a horrible experience,” said Collin.

He was sitting in his mother’s car, a silver Mazda 6, with Aviwe, waiting for her outside the Edendale Hospital clinic.

“I was sitting in the passenger seat with the door open. Aviwe was sitting on the driver’s seat playing with the steering wheel.

“The first guy [leaned] over the driver’s window side and he started making conversation about the model of the car. Immediately, a second guy came to my side and placed the gun at my side and whispered to me. He said I should keep quiet and co-operate.”

Collin was ordered into the back seat. “I picked up my nephew and went into the back.”

One of the hijackers jumped into the driver’s seat and started the car.

Collin said the suspect drove the car towards the Richmond road. “I think they were headed for Richmond, because I heard one of them saying that he knew a deserted place in that area. I asked them to drop off my nephew, because I knew they were going to kill me since I could recognise them. They told me we were both going die.”

While the car was moving, Collin managed to put his cellphone on silent mode. “They had taken my mother’s cellphone and I did not want them to see mine because I knew it would be useful.”

He said he also noticed that the hijacker could not drive properly. The vehicle suddenly stalled when they were approaching the Ritchie and Richmond road intersection.

“The car gears locked and it rolled back on the incline. The man who was driving tried to start the car, but failed.”

Collin said the hijackers started panicking and one of them made a phone call and told the person on the other end of the line that the car had stopped. Immediately after that, they jumped out of the car and ran away. Collin also tried to start the car, but was unsuccessful.

He said he locked the doors of the car and took his nephew and started walking towards home in Bisley Heights. Along the way, a traffic policeman stopped and picked them up.

“I was scared and I did not trust anyone, so I did not tell the policeman what happened, but he took us home and left without asking any questions.”

Safe at home, Collin phoned his mother and told her about the ordeal. SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the car has been handed over to the Pietermaritzburg Vehicle Safeguarding Unit for examination and for the possibility of finding fingerprints.

Police are making an appeal to anyone with any information regarding the incident to contact Captain Roseburn Mngadi at Plessislaer Detective Services on 033 398 9776 or 083 742 8125 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

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