'Drunk' cop smashes into cars
Stephanie Saville, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - A senior policeman is under investigation for allegedly going on a wild car-smashing spree while driving a state vehicle, possibly under the influence of alcohol, on Monday evening.
The police officer, whose name has not been released, is attached to the public order policing unit in Oribi, Pietermaritzburg.
He was allegedly driving the wrong way along Coronation Road, a one-way street near the Scottsville shopping centre, at about 20:00.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the officer, a captain, had been authorised to use the vehicle before the accident.
“He smashed [several] vehicles before he fled from the scene. We have opened a criminal investigation against the officer and are also conducting an internal inquiry to establish who was driving the car,” said Mdunge.
Lethiwe Goge, 26, she said she was driving away from the shopping centre when a police double cab bakkie drove towards her and struck her vehicle, damaging it badly. She said she saw the police bakkie hitting two other vehicles before it sped away.
“I did not see how many people were in the police van because everything happened too fast,” said Goge.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal finance student said her 1992 VW Jetta 2, which was later taken to a scrapyard, was her only means of travel between her Sweetwaters home and the university.
“Since I’m the student I could not afford insurance for the car, and now I don’t know who is going to repair it,” said Goge.
Johannesburg resident Belinda Smith, who was in the city for Christmas, was driving along King Edward Avenue when the police bakkie struck her VW Jetta 5 at the intersection of Coronation Road and King Edward Avenue.
“I first thought, ‘Oh please Lord, tell me that’s not me,’ and then I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw a police vehicle reversing and driving off at a speed.”
Smith said she was astonished to see the police Nissan Hardbody drive the wrong way down Coronation Road, colliding with another vehicle and knocking it off the road before it sped away.
She took down the registration number, BRW 617 B, and noticed the driver was wearing police uniform.
“One witness said it seemed that the driver was drunk, but we couldn’t prove it.”
She said her car’s bumper was damaged. Her children were in the car.
She said she was initially asked to identify the driver in a line-up, but the police changed their minds and said the procedure would have to wait until the appropriate time.
“At first I thought maybe he [the police officer] was rushing to the scene of an accident or a crime, but when he banged into the second car, I realised something was wrong.”
Mdunge said the police are not aware that the officer was drunk. He said the owners of the damaged vehicles will have to claim from their own insurance, which in turn will claim from the state’s insurers