Tragic end to friends’ ride

2015-06-27 08:21
The scene after the BMW crashed into a flat in Parkside Mansions on Alexandra Road.

The scene after the BMW crashed into a flat in Parkside Mansions on Alexandra Road. (ER24)

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What started as a night out with friends ended in tragedy when a car crashed into a ground-floor flat yesterday morning, leaving two of the friends dead and two critically injured.

Friends Shaylen Pillay (22), Dhiren Dhilraj (22) and Shikaar Dhilraj (25) had met Cape Town local Elroy Smith (31) at Franki Bananaz and said they wanted to show their new friend around town.

As the four drove through town in Pillay’s blue BMW, the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit saw the car, which matched the description of a car involved in an armed robbery last week.

Pietermaritzburg SAPS spokesperson Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese said police jumped out of their car and approached the car the friends were in. But as they approached the car, it sped off.

Police gave chase and the driver lost control at the intersection of Alexandra Road and College Road where the accident occurred at Parkside Mansions.

When the police arrived at the scene, they called in emergency services to attend to the injured.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said when paramedics arrived they found the wreckage of the car, stationary against the collapsed wall of a block of flats.

“On assessment, paramedics found four people lying motionless inside the vehicle and the driver had already succumbed to his multiple fatal injuries.

“Three other patients in the vehicle had sustained critical injuries in the collision. They were carefully removed and treated on scene.”

He said two of the patients were taken to Mediclinic and the third person was rushed to Edendale Hospital.

“Unfortunately, upon arrival at Mediclinic, one of the critically injured patients succumbed to his injuries.”

The family living in the wrecked flat were uninjured, but said it had been a frightening experience.

The mother, who asked not to be named, said her children were in their room right next to where the car ploughed into their flat and she and her husband were in the lounge when the accident occurred.

The vehicle completely destroyed the front veranda of the flat, with pieces of the bumper flung into the lounge upon impact.

“I was in the lounge when it happened at around 12.

“It was very quick. I heard tyres screeching and then a loud bang and I immediately ran to check on my children.”

The family member said she was horrified when she went outside and saw a “wrecked car” lying upside down on their veranda.

“They hit the flat at such a speed, there are pieces of the bumper and glass scattered on our lounge floor,” she said.

“I REMEMBER waking up and finding a body on my legs before I pulled myself out of the car.”

Cape Town man Elroy Smith was one of the two who survived the horrific crash yesterday morning.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Smith said he met the trio at Frankie Bananaz and joined them for a drive around the city.

Smith, who started work in Pietermaritzburg in January, said he parked his car at Franki Bananaz before jumping in with the men.

He said they drove around for a while before they stopped to urinate at the side of one of the roads.

“I think they [police] made a U-turn and started following us. The driver took off when he saw the police lights,” said Smith.

Smith says the other men and him “shouted” at the driver to slow down.

“We were all shouting at him and telling him to slow down and stop the car, but he would not listen. I remember pulling my safety belt but it didn’t clip,” he said.

He said he did not remember the actual crash, but remembers “a body on his legs”.

“After I pulled myself out of the car I only remember the paramedics helping me,” he said.

Smith says his injuries were not severe and he is “feeling good”.

TRAUMATISED at the thought of losing another Dhilraj family member, Dhiren and Shikaar’s cousin, who did not wish to be named, said yesterday the family are “not coping”.

Dhiren was airlifted to the Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital yesterday in a critical condition after suffering severe brain and neck injuries.

Speaking to The Witness at the Edendale Hospital before Dhiren’s transfer, the cousin said the family “cannot believe” the tragedy the family is facing.

“We don’t know how this happened or why it happened. I am just praying. At least one cousin should live. We cannot believe Shikaar is gone. Now we are praying for Dhiren.”

Posts on Shaylen’s Facebook page paid tribute to the young man.

• Alecia Ally: The love of my life, words can’t express how much this hurts. I love you and I always will.

• Shaldon Sokoo: It was a privilege meeting and knowing you bro! - Gone too soon...Rest in peace.

• Stephanie Timica B Reddy: Rip my dear friend, I cant believe the news I just heard, so young and you gone so soon. you will be missed so much.

• Vasheel Jungbahadur: We never got to meet up last night.. We will meet in a better place though b. Rest In Peace home boy.

Posts on Shikaar’s Facebook page:

• Jerusca Rampersadh Dhilraj: May God grant the Dhilraj family strength through this tragic time. Shikaar Dhilraj! You will be missed way more any one person could put into mere words... No words can express the pain in our hearts.

• Raviksha Maharaj: Sitting here and wishing that this is all just a dream and at any moment you will walk in with that handsome smile of yours...cannot believe you are gone my brother. I will cherish each and every moment that i have been so fortunate to have shared with you whilst growing up...i love you...RIP Shikz.

• Nersh Jhilmeet: Just the other day you were with me...only to wake up now and hear that you are no will always be remembered..R.I.P Shikaar Dhilraj.

• Crystal Phillips: Rest in peace dear brother shikaar dhilraj and shaylin, you will be deeply missed

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  accident

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