Truckers warned not to sleep on the N3

2011-02-28 00:00

HILTON police have again warned truck drivers against pulling over to sleep on the shoulder of the N3 and invited road users to report suspicious activities to the Hilton policing precinct.

This after a Durban truck driver was awakened from his sleep by three gunmen in Hilton on Wednesday night.

Melusi Khumalo, a driver of Durban-based R2D2 Freight, pulled over to sleep near the Hilton off-ramp at about 9 pm. A man wearing a balaclava woke him by banging on the truck door and pointing a torch and firearm at his face.

“As he forced me to open my door he gave me no chance of pressing the panic button. They forced me to lie on my bed, and threatened to shoot me if I tried anything silly,” said Khumalo.

With his head covered with his blanket, Khumalo felt helpless as the truck moved towards Howick. It stopped near the Merrivale off-ramp. He said there the men used a cutting torch to open a container at the back. “They drove back to the Hilton off-ramp where they loaded goods, which were on the side of the N3 into the container. They put another load in the cab.

“They crossed the island into the northbound lane and drove back to the Merrivale off-ramp. Two of the men jumped off to look for a spot to conceal the goods,” Khumalo said.

Khumalo said he was surprised, and relieved to hear a police siren vehicle stopping next to the truck.

“The one who was guarding me tried to escape, but he could not open the passenger door. I opened mine and alighted, but police forced me to lie down. While I was down I shouted to the police that one hijacker was inside the truck, which is where he was arrested,” he said.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said members of the Flying Squad Unit responded to a call about the hijacking.

“Upon approaching the truck the members noticed two men fleeing from the side of the truck and into the nearby bushes. They immediately gave chase on foot and a shootout between the suspects and the members ensued. Both the suspects made good their escape. She said 40 boxes containing 480 tins of baked beans and 10 boxes containing 210 bottles of cooking oil were recovered.

Public with information on the robbery can contact the investigating officer Constable Thobani Nxele at SAPS Hilton on 033 845 6525 or on his cell on 072 108 1738.

Anonymous tip-offs can be made toll free on 086 001 0111.



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