Killer taxi driver: I can't remember

2011-11-16 09:50

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Cape Town - The Cape Town driver of the minibus taxi that collided with a train, killing 10 schoolchildren, has no recollection of the accident, according to a newspaper report on Wednesday.

Jacob Humphreys, 55, who allegedly ignored signals at the Buttskop level crossing before dawn on August 25 last year, told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday that the children in the taxi were like his own, The Cape Times newspaper reported.

"They were like my own children, I knew some for more than three years and some for less," Humphreys said during cross-examination on Tuesday.

‘Car in front of me’


Humphreys said that he had left home a few minutes later than usual.

"I didn’t take my usual route because one of the children had a death in their family so the girl I usually picked up second, I went to fetch first then went on as usual.

"I got to Frederick Road, which is parallel to the railway. I stopped at the stop street then turned left into Buttskop Road."

During an in loco inspection earlier, it was determined that Humphreys drove 30 metres on to Buttskop Road before making a U-turn towards the crossing.

"At the stop street, I saw the red lights flashing on the Buttskop side and that the booms were down.
"I stopped after a small white car that slipped in front of me."

Broken bones

Humphreys told the court he had no recollection of what had happened to him or the vehicle after this point.

"The next thing I know is when I woke up and heard someone screaming for me. I was on the ground in front of the [minibus] and then I was taken to Kuils River Netcare for head injuries.

"Two of my ribs were broken, my left arm and both legs and the right foot was swollen.

"From where I was standing behind the white car, I could’ve sped up to 30km/h."

Humphreys said he had the documentation he needed to transport children to and from school.

"The [minibus] was last checked about two or three months before the accident and nothing was wrong with it."

Previous accidents

Humphreys did not dispute that he had previously slipped through the boom. He also said that he was involved in two previous accidents with the vehicle.

"The first accident was when I stood at the stop street from Kleinvlei. A bus came from Forest Drive and when I went over it hit the back of the [taxi]. The second time was during the World Cup when the roads were busy. It was difficult to see."
He had children in his vehicle on both of these occasions.

- SAPA

Read more on:    jacob humphreys  |  cape town  |  schoolbus tragedy
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