EXCLUSIVE | Expert finds no acceleration in last 5 seconds before Watson's car hit pillar

2019-10-13 09:20
Gavin Watson's funeral. (Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24)

Gavin Watson's funeral. (Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24)

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A preliminary report completed by a private investigator hired to look into Bosasa boss Gavin Watson's car crash has found that there was no significant acceleration for around five seconds before he hit a concrete pillar.

The preliminary report has now been finalised but still needs to be corroborated with information from the police.

The findings have revealed vital information about what happened to Watson seconds before the crash in August this year.

Watson was driving a company Toyota Corolla when he died on the road leading into OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

Report confirms pathology results

According to News24's information, the report, compiled by accident expert Konrad Lotter, shows that that there did not appear to be significant acceleration for a number of seconds before the car hit the concrete pillar near the airport.

Gavin Watson's funeral

Watson's nephew, Jared, said this confirmed the preliminary pathology report that his uncle was dead before the crash.

"The lack of marks on the scene indicated a lack of steering input or swerving action.

"The findings of the post-mortem that indicated the driver was deceased before the final impact, matches all of the evidence in the relation to the occurrence of the impact," he said.

READ | Gavin Watson's death: 7 key unanswered questions

"The aspects that cannot be accounted for are the presence of a toxin, medication or medical condition," Watson said.

"Obviously tying in with the findings of the pathologist that from his post-mortem it appeared that Gavin's heart was already not functioning at the time of the impact of the vehicle," he added.

This suggests that he may have suffered a major heart or brain event prior to the accident.

Toyota, RTMC also investigating

Lotter, the investigator who conducted the investigation, has declined to answer questions about his probe.

However, News24 spoke to a forensic expert - who wishes to remain anonymous - who said if Watson was dead before the crash, he would not have bled excessively after the accident. There have been questions about the lack of considerable blood on the crash scene.

The lack of marks on the road could also indicate that Watson was not pushed or did not swerve off the road, News24 understands.

The expert added that while there are no CCTV cameras on the site of the crash, there would be footage of the highway leading up to it. This, they said, the police should already have.

News24 also understands that there are two other investigations into the crash, including one allegedly by Toyota and another by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC). 

RTMC confirmed that it had already sent a report to the South African Police Service.

"We assisted the police at their request and a report was given to them," Simon Zwane, spokesperson for the RTMC, told News24.

Toyota, however, refused to comment on the matter "as it is under police investigation".

According to the expert, if a car has airbags as Watson's car did, there should be an event data recorder (EDR) in the car.

When the airbags deploy, this triggers the EDR which starts recording pre- and post-crash data on the car.

The EDR is essentially a "black box" that records speed, acceleration, braking and steering action in the car.

While Toyota said it does not look into every crash that happens, the EDR in Watson's car should have vital information regarding the crash.

'Eyewitnesses lying'

According to Jared Watson, the crash report confirms that "eyewitnesses were lying".

One person who claiming to be an eyewitnesses told News24 they saw Watson's car stopped on the side of the highway with its hazards on before driving back on to the road.

Once his car was back on the road, Watson sped up, passing the witness at high speed and eventually collided with the concrete pillar approaching the airport.

ALSO READ | Gavin Watson was 'already dead' at time of crash - report

The vehicle collided with the pillar of a bridge at a speed that "was definitely above 100km/h" because of the nature of the impact and noise thereafter.

"The car, after the collision, instantly faced sideways and was [smoking] but we could not go check because of my flight time," the witness said.

Jared Watson, however, told News24: "The cops themselves say they have now not been able to track down these 'witnesses' which is very strange."

The police were asked for comment, but had not done so by the time of publication.

Read more on:    gavin watson  |  state capture  |  accidents
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