‘Reckless’ Hummer driver jailed

2013-05-31 15:27

The Hummer driver who crashed into a group of motorcyclists, killing two and causing a third to lose a limb, will serve an effective six years in jail.

Pretoria North Regional Court Magistrate Ben van Schalkwyk today sentenced Zambian national Indi Himalindi Chiyabu to two nine-year terms on two culpable homicide counts.

Three years of each sentence were suspended for five years, and the two sentences would be served concurrently.

Van Schalkwyk also sentenced Chiyabu to a further 18 months’ imprisonment for contravening road traffic legislation.

The 18-month prison term would also run concurrently with the initial two sentences.

The magistrate said he was convinced Chiyabu was a reckless driver and had caused the accident and the subsequent deaths of the motorcyclists.

Last week, prosecutor Tanya Carstens called for a stiff jail term for Chiyabu.

“An expert testified that when the accident happened, the accused did not have control over the vehicle,” she said.

“He left the scene in contravention of the law and only handed himself in five days after.”

She said road accidents and deaths were rampant in South Africa and the court had to impose a punishment which would serve as a deterrent to other road users.

Chiyabu’s Hummer and two of the motorcycles caught fire after the accident in Rachel de Beer Road, Pretoria, in October 2010.

Pieter Coetzee (49) and JP Kruger (32) died at the scene. Coetzee’s son Pieter survived, but had to have a leg amputated.

Chiyabu was found guilty on two counts of culpable homicide in February.

Arguing in mitigation of sentence, Chiyabu’s lawyer Makhi Nogaga described the accident as a tragedy, but said he should not be punished for the offences of other drivers who contributed to the rising road death toll.

“The sins of this country must not be inflicted on this young man. He must be punished for his own,” he told the court last week.

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