Woman caught in toilet as truck hits medical centre

2013-04-17 00:00

LATONIA Shaw of Pietermaritzburg was lucky to escape serious injury yesterday when a truck crashed into the restroom of the Life Med Medical Centre in Woodlands where she works.

She was sitting on the toilet at the time.

Shaw hurt her shoulder and banged her head when the crash, which she said could have killed her, occurred.

It was suspected that the truck’s brakes failed as it travelled down Woodlands Road.

“I won’t be able to enter here again … I almost died sitting on the toilet,” Shaw told The Witness.

She had just sat down on the toilet when she heard a loud bang outside.

“In my mind, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was a truck at the construction site.

“The next thing, there was this impact that caused the toilet to hit the wall. I jumped up, and fell back and hit my head on the toilet,” she said.

She ran out, fell at the entrance, and then went outside.

“I saw that there was a truck in the room,” she said.

The crash happened at a time when the surgery was not very busy, and Shaw was grateful that there were no patients waiting to be treated at the time.

Building owner Oscar Mohamed said the incident was an act of God.

“These things happen, but we must be grateful that no one got hurt,” he said.

He said he had seen reports in The Witness of a number of runaway trucks crashing into homes, and did not think it would ever happen to him.

“It’s going to take about two months to get this fixed, because once they pull the truck out, things are going to start falling.”

He estimated that the repairs would cost about R400 000.

Dr Tasneem Essack, who wasn’t in the surgery at the time, said Life Med Medical Centre would close down until it was repaired.

“We can’t work here because everything has been damaged.”

Next door to the medical centre is the home of Renelle Diaz. The truck destroyed the fence of Diaz’s house before crashing into the doctor’s rooms.

“I was in the kitchen cooking when I heard a loud bang,” Diaz said.

“It happened so fast … I saw this truck flying past. I immediately ran to the neighbours and asked them to call my father because I was so scared.”

Eyeing the gaping hole in her fence, Diaz said she feared for her safety.

Her father, Cedric, said: “I’m just glad there were no lives lost. It could have been much worse.”

The driver of the truck was taken to hospital before The Witness arrived. The truck owner refused to comment.

“This has nothing to do with The Witness,” he said.

Police said they would only comment today.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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