Survivor did not see accident, court hears

2013-11-18 22:09


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Johannesburg - The only survivor of a 2011 accident in which five joggers were mown down by an SUV driver did not see the accident, the North Guateng High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

Abegail Stengile was testifying in the trial of civil engineer Sibusiso Langa, 46, who has pleaded not guilty to five charges of murder, one of attempted murder and one of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Reneilwe Lesenyeho, Goalojwe Isaac Tlale, Moroesi Margaret Mokoatsi, Given Miles and Nomvula Regina Dumako died when Langa allegedly drove into them while they were jogging next to Lever Road in Midrand on 22 October 2011.

Langa admitted to having had a couple of beers before the accident.

Abegail Stengile testified that she and her jogging partners were training for the Soweto marathon and met at Vodaworld at 05:00.

After crossing Olifantsfontein Road, they ran in single file close to each other on the right side of Lever Road, facing oncoming traffic, with Tlale leading the way.

"I don't remember seeing what really happened, but I remember when I woke up I was on the gravel on the right-hand side of the road.

"I didn't see the others and assumed they had continued running.

"I tried to see what had happened. I started feeling my head and body.

"I realised something was wrong. I tried to stand up but I couldn't and realised something had happened to my knee," she said.

Ongoing therapy

Several cars passed before someone stopped to help and phoned an ambulance.

The court heard that she had not yet fully recovered and still received therapy twice a week, which had cost her R30 000 out of her own pocket, so far.

"I've started running a little, but I can't run long distances because my leg swells up," she said.

Stengile initially said she did not see Langa at all on the day of the accident.

After defence counsel Richard Mkhabela confronted her with media reports, she admitted that someone had pointed him out to her standing next to his car.

She also admitted telling a magazine that she had to jump out of the way of another speeding car, but she said this had happened near the Protea Hotel and not in Lever Road.

She agreed that she did not see the accident because it happened so fast.

She denied a statement by Mkhabela that the joggers had crossed from the left side of the road to the right side.

She said she could not remember them crossing Lever Road, but could not exclude it.


On Monday, accident reconstruction expert Wilna Badenhorst defended her earlier evidence that the driver of the Mercedes-Benz ML 500 was driving at speeds of up to 133km/h in a 60km/h zone.

She said she had been conservative in her calculations that the joggers were hit at a speed of between 89km/h and 108km/h on the right side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.

"The speed could actually have been higher, but I was conservative," she said.

Badenhorst insisted that the short skid marks found on the road were caused by Langa's vehicle, and were beyond the area of impact.

She said a high speed impact would have launched the pedestrians onto the vehicle's bonnet, which explained the damage to the car and the victims' severe injuries.

Mkhabela said he would argue that Badenhorst's calculations of the speed were fatally flawed because she used the same initial starting point for all of the bodies.

Badenhorst said she used an initial 5.5m allowance from the impact point when making her calculations.

She said the speed at which the runners were running would not have made any difference to her calculations about the speed and distance at which their bodies would have travelled after impact.

The State closed its case on Monday.

The trial continues.

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