Family of 8 killed in crash

2018-01-23 13:30
The eight family members who died in the horror crash on Sunday. LEFT: Mitchell and Veroshnie Mahabeer. TOP: ABOVE: Chairperson of Loop Street CPF, Gerald Harry, with his sister Loraine Rampersad, who died in the horror crash along with seven family members on Sunday. BOTTOM: LEFT: Isabella (11), Leah (4), Titus (3) and Hannah (6) Mahabeer.

The eight family members who died in the horror crash on Sunday. LEFT: Mitchell and Veroshnie Mahabeer. TOP: ABOVE: Chairperson of Loop Street CPF, Gerald Harry, with his sister Loraine Rampersad, who died in the horror crash along with seven family members on Sunday. BOTTOM: LEFT: Isabella (11), Leah (4), Titus (3) and Hannah (6) Mahabeer. (Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Eight members of a Pietermaritzburg family have been killed in a horror crash near Umzumbe on the South Coast.

The family were returning from a weekend getaway in Margate to celebrate a birthday.

The victims were: Loraine Rampersad (56); her daughter Veroshnie Mahabeer; Veroshnie’s husband Mitchell; Veroshnie and Mitchell’s four children, including a three-year-old; and Mitchell’s brother Jesse.

They died in a head-on collision between their VW Golf and a Ford Ranger bakkie. The crash took place between the Umtentweni toll and Hibberdene. All eight occupants died on impact.

The driver of the bakkie escaped uninjured, but was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and was arrested, police said.

All eight victims lived together in Woodpecker Road, Northdale.

Loop Street Community Policing Forum chairperson Gerald Harry, who is a brother of Loraine Rampersad, said the tragedy happened on his sister’s birthday.

A devastated Harry told The Witness on Monday that he was notified about the incident at about midnight on Sunday. “The police there must have been looking through their phones and found my number. I wanted to race out there but they said I couldn’t because it was still an active crime scene.”

He said the family had spent Saturday night in Margate — a birthday present for Rampersad organised by Veroshnie — and were travelling back on Sunday evening. “They moved the bodies to a Durban hospital that night. My older brother is a brigadier in the police there and he went with his son to identify the bodies,” Harry said.

He said the bodies were with post mortem teams in Durban on Monday.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made, but the bodies will be transported to Pietermaritzburg for a service. He said Rampersad, a housewife who was a widow, was a jovial person, and described the family as close-knit and religious.

Veroshnie and Mitchell’s children were Isabella (11), Hannah (6), Leah (4) and Titus (3).

“One of the children just started Grade 1 this year and they were quite excited. They were all really looking forward to that weekend trip.”

A tearful Harry told The Witness: “We can’t control our emotions. This is so devastating for us. As the CPF chairperson, I’ve never seen something like this. You never see eight people from one family die in one incident.”

A 63-year-old man was expected to appear at the Port Shepstone magistrate’s court in connection with the incident yesterday. He is facing charges of drunken driving and culpable homicide, said police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala.

The provincial MEC for Transport, Mxolisi Kaunda, has instructed a team of forensic experts to fast-track the investigation.

Caro Smit, the director of South Africans Against Drink Driving, said incidents like this could be avoided if authorities screened motorists for driving under the influence all day. “They should have roadblocks all day and throughout the year. Or have something like what they do in the Western Cape, where officers drive in an unmarked vehicle and when they spot suspicious behaviour or see an unroadworthy vehicle, they test for alcohol.”


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  car crash

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.