Driving instructor in chase

2015-05-14 10:59

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Pietermaritzburg ­- A prominent driving school owner allegedly involved in a road rage incident on the N3 on Thursday has been arrested, but only after he tried to flee from the police in a high-speed car chase.

The man was eventually cuffed when he stopped at the Road Traffic Inspectorate Office in Braid Street, where he is apparently well known, after allegedly clocking up speeds of more than 180 km/h in a 100 km zone and side-swiping a truck, creating significant damage to the right side of his luxury sedan.

The 61-year old man, whose name is known to The Witness, runs a well-known Pietermaritzburg driving school.

His attempt to out-run the law began after he allegedly tried to force a woman off the road in an apparent road rage ­incident on the N3 north-bound ­carriageway between the Ashburton and Market Street off-ramps.

A Nottingham Road resident who witnessed the rage said her initial concern was that the luxury car driver could have been drunk and could cause a serious accident.

She asked her name be withheld for the safety of her family.

“I could see his car swerving across the three lanes near Market Road about four times. He was going so fast. I then realised he was trying to force the female driver of a small car off the road by pulling in front of her and then hitting the brakes.

“He must have missed her by a hair’s breadth,” she alleged. The witness, who had phoned in the “crazy man” to the police, said the driver of the small car had a “look of fear on her face”.

It was her call that saw the incident circulated to all patrol vehicles and led to the suspect’s arrest just 12 minutes later.

“I couldn’t believe it when the police informed me the man was arrested. I was so impressed with the police,” she said.

The suspect was placed in the Loop Street holding cells and charged at Alexandra Road SAPS.

An official source said the driver of the luxury car may have been driving at more than 180 km/h.

The man is expected to be charged with reckless and negligent driving and leaving the scene of an accident, but more charges could be added.

“He may have gone to the RTI office where he knows officers in the hope to avoid arrest,” said a police source.

The RTI confirmed a man who owned a driving school had sought refuge at the RTI office, but said it was a police matter.

Family members removed the luxury car, a new model of which sells for over R1.3 million. The sedan had been badly dented in Wednesday's dice. Sources who saw the vehicle believe it would be a written off, rather than fixed.

Pat Allen from the Southern African ­Institute of Driving Instructors (SAIDI) said it is unlikely the suspect or his driving school will suffer any repercussions.

South Africans Against Drunk Driving head Caro Smit said this incident reinforced the notion that instructors don’t know the rules of the road.

“This incident is shocking but the police must be congratulated for their swift action.”

The police were asked to comment but had not responded at the time of going to press.

According to sources, the man was later released on police bail and is expected to appear in court on Thursday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  road rage

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