Hilton woman's lucky escape in rock-throwing incident

2018-01-12 11:15

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A local woman had a lucky escape on Thursday when a rock thrown from a bridge in Merrivale missed her car narrowly.

As fears of rock-throwing incidents continue to plague the province’s motorists, Tarrin Webster from Hilton had a lucky escape but was left reeling in shock. Minutes after the alleged incident, a member of the Howick Safety Network and a security company that patrols in the area was able to catch the alleged perpetrator.

Kevin Longmore said he acted swiftly after receiving an alert on the Hilton WhatsApp chat group. “I forwarded the message to the Howick chat group, and luckily a member of the security company who is part of the group said he was already at the scene.”

Longmore and the member of the security company managed to apprehend the suspect, who was taken to the Howick police station.

It is unclear what happened to the suspect thereafter. Police spokesperson Gay Ebrahim said a case of intimidation should be opened and police should investigate the intentions of the rock thrower.

Webster, a teacher, said she was travelling under the railway bridge on Main Road near Upfold Road at Merrivale, when rocks were hurled at her car. She was on her way home at the time.

Tarrin told The Witness that as she was driving she noticed a group of youngsters on the bridge.

At first, she didn’t think much of them because seeing youngsters loitering around was not unusual. Minutes later, she was shocked by what transpired.

“They saw the car and they ran onto the bridge and they threw rocks at it. They missed me but I saw them running back onto the bridge and they threw rocks again at a truck that was coming from the opposite direction.”

Webster said she was left traumatised by the incident, especially in light of the spate of recent rock throwing incidents.

“Luckily they missed my car but I don’t know about the other truck. I don’t know why they do it because it puts the lives of others at risk. It was a really scary experience because I could have veered off the road and crashed.”

She is awaiting feedback from the Hilton police station, after reporting the incident there late yesterday.

Webster said the youngsters, who looked like they were in their 20s, hurled rocks that were the size of a fist.

Two weeks ago, Amina Haffejee and her seven-year-old brother Abdhur Raheem were killed when a rock thrown from a bridge above the N2 near Tongaat‚ north of Durban‚ struck their car.

It has been reported that the rock ripped through the windshield and hit Haffejee. The force at which it landed caused her seat to fly back‚ hitting her brother.

The incident was followed by similar attacks. A Ballito woman‚ Alicia Cilliers was travelling on the N2 when a group of men pelted her car with rocks last Thursday morning. One of them smashed her passenger window. She was alone at the time and continued driving.

Then on Saturday night, a man was injured when his car was hit by a falling rock in the same spot the siblings were attacked.

A reward of more than R250 000 for information leading to the arrest of the attackers has been posted by the public.

Meanwhile yesterday, KwaZulu-Natal police said they were unable to release the number of highway rock-throwing incidents, saying that “they amount to crime statistics which are the prerogative of only the minister of Police to release”.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane told New24 yesterday that they have identified the overhead bridge between Ballito and Tongaat as a rock-throwing hotspot.

“Visible policing members have been tasked to patrol the area on a 24-hour basis to prevent similar incidents. The SAPS provincial management is meeting with other security departments and the Department of Transport to discuss measures of preventing these crimes,” said Zwane.

He said six juveniles — aged 15 — who were found near the bridge were taken in for questioning this week, but were later released due to lack of evidence.

Read more on:    durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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