‘Drunken’ RTI cop in crash

2010-09-15 00:00

AN allegedly drunk provincial inspector with the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) was admitted to hospital after his state vehicle crashed into a bakkie belonging to the project manager for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), Steward Wilson, late on Monday afternoon.

Both vehicles were travelling on the N3 towards Durban when the officer allegedly lost control and crashed into Wilson’s Opel Corsa bakkie.

Wilson said he was lucky to be alive given the state of his vehicle after the crash.

“I can’t say much here except that being a law enforcer, this man should respect road rules. It is lack of respect for fellow human beings that leads to disaster on our roads,” said Wilson.

“It was brought to my attention by people who came to the scene that the man’s breath smelt of alcohol. The courts will decide.”

A source in RTI said the officer was dismissed in 2008 for six offences.

These were said to be inconsiderate and negligent driving, sleeping on duty, absenteeism, making false and misleading entries in the department’s occurrence book, failing to hand over a state firearm and false claims for overtime and travel allowance.

The source said the officer was found guilty only on charges four and five and was dismissed.

“The union appealed the dismissal and he was reinstated in December 2009,” said the source.

St Anne’s Hospital spokesperson Ishmael Shabnum said the officer was recovering, but would not disclose the extent of his injuries.

Department of Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane confirmed that they are investigating drunk driving allegations against the officer.

In a telephone interview with The Witness, Ncalane said the officer was once suspended, but he would not give details.

“We can confirm the accident and we are investigating drunken driving allegations. If our officer is found to have been drunk, necessary action will be taken against him. After the accident he was taken to hospital and blood samples were taken. The department will wait for the results,” said Ncalane.

He said the officer was on duty at the time of the accident.

When he was asked later via SMS about when the suspension took place, Ncalane made an about turn, saying that he was not aware of the officer’s previous suspension.

“… All I have is that one of our officers was involved in the accident and was hospitalised. We are investigating allegations that he was drunk when the accident took place. We can’t disclose his name yet. I am not aware of his previous suspension,” reads the SMS.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said the officer lost control of the vehicle he was driving and rammed into an Opel Corsa bakkie. Both vehicles overturned.

“… Charges of drunken and negligent driving were levelled against the officer,” said Jeevan.

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