Mom and kids killed

2012-12-03 00:00

AN accident on the N2 near what emergency services have dubbed “Suicide Bridge” claimed five lives, including a mother, son and cousin in a head-on collision, on Saturday afternoon.

Tanya Hartley Marshall (33), a Richards Bay mother renowned for her exceptional skills in baking and decorating cakes, her son Jamie (11), and niece Shiloh (3) were en route to Empangeni when all three were killed in a head-on collision with a bakkie that had six occupants. Four people were declared dead on the scene while the driver of the bakkie died in hospital.

According to Ivan Hartley, Tanya’s father, she was returning from Durban after visiting her sister, Shiloh’s mother.

It was decided that she would take Shiloh home for a visit.

They were heading back to Empangeni to go and watch another member of their family perform in the annual Zululand dance extravaganza called Fantasyland at the Empangeni Civic Centre.

Ivan Hartley and other family members were already at the dance.

The accident, according to the SAPS, occurred at 4.30 pm, but by 9 pm the family in Empangeni had not yet heard what had happened.

A message was posted on an informal Zululand traffic update Blackberry Messenger Group which read: “URGENT please! My daughter and two grandkids age(d) 11 and three have gone missing on the road from Durban driving a white Figo NUF 42154. Pse contact me urgently if u have seen this car or occupants”, with the suspicion being that they might have been hijacked.

By 9.33 pm, a second message was posted: “Car has been found and family on their way. No further info will be disclosed from me. Thanks to all for the help!!”.

Ivan told The Witness the support from the community has been tremendous.

“We have had people streaming into our house all day on Sunday [yesterday]. We are sticking together with family already coming from abroad,” said Hartley.

Tanya’s Facebook page was awash with messages of condolence, including from her sister Mandy Cremer, mother of Shiloh, who said: “My sister, my best friend, I miss you terribly and ache for you. I long to be reunited. Thank you for loving my Shiloh like she was your own. She adored you. I love you buddy.”

Tanya’s Ford Figo had a head-on collision with a GWM Steed bakkie carrying six occupants.

Efforts to get hold of the families of the bakkie occupants proved unsuccessful.

The SAPS said it could not release their names as the families had not yet been informed of the deaths.

The RTI’s Zinhle Mngomezulu confirmed that five people died in the accident.

“Unfortunately, with both drivers deceased, no one will be held responsible for this terrible accident.

“The only form of responsibility that may come out is once the post mortems have been completed to see if alcohol had been involved,” said Mngomezulu.

SAPS spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the accident took place near Nonoti Bridge, Zinkwazi, also known to emergency personnel as “Suicide Bridge”.

He said a case of culpable homicide was opened at kwaDukuza police station for further investigation and that four people remain in hospital, one in a critical condition.

The office of Transport MEC Willies Mchunu, could not be reached for comment.

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