Woman knocked down and dragged by taxi: ‘My life would have been so different’

2018-04-19 10:19
PHOTO:  Rowyn Lombard

PHOTO: Rowyn Lombard

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It’s been seven years since the ordeal that stripped her of skin and muscle, her chosen career and her independence but she’s still experiencing the fallout.

Her marriage has collapsed too and it’s hard for Kim McCusker (32) not to feel bitter.

Life would be a lot different if a minibus taxi driver hadn’t knocked her down and dragged her down the road in a presumed fit of road rage in 2011.

“I’d have been advocate,” she says. “I’d have had children by now. I wouldn’t be scarred.”

And she might well still be married.

Sixteen months ago Kim told us that Lourens Grobler (43), her fiancé at the time of the taxi incident, had had an affair with a friend of hers (YOU, 8 December 2016).

The couple had decided to try again, only to realise 18 months later their relationship was over. “Now I know I never got over his affair,” she says.

Kim and Lourens had been to the gym on that fateful day in September 2011, about five months before they were due to marry. On their way home their car was clipped by a taxi. They stopped and walked over to the taxi to get the driver’s details when he allegedly started driving, knocking Kim over.

The driver, Patlet Thamage, was released on bail but then went on the run and has yet to stand trial on charges of attempted murder and reckless and negligent driving. He disappeared in December 2015.

In her book Scarred – But Not for Life Kim described the pain and trauma she endured. Vertebrae and ribs were injured, 58% of her tissue and muscles were stripped and she has undergone about 40 operations to repair all the damage.

She and Lourens had to postpone their wedding and married in May 2012.

Kim believes the taxi incident created an environment that doomed their relationship. They had to move in with her parents, Douglas and Patricia, in Fairland, Johannesburg, so that Patricia, a nurse, could take care of Kim

“We were all under the same roof – it was just all too intertwined,” she says.

“I think Lourens battled with the fact that everything was about me and after a while he felt neglected.”

She believes that’s why he turned to her friend for comfort. The affair, which took place in 2014, lasted four months.

“It was just such a big betrayal,” Kim says. “By both of them.”

Still, she and Lourens decided to give things another go. For the first time as a married couple they moved into their own home but 18 months later they both realised it wasn’t working.

“There just wasn’t a sense of connection anymore.”

One evening she and Lourens had a row. In the heat of the moment he said, “I want a divorce.”

Deep down Kim had realised the marriage was over so she didn’t fight it.

After nearly five years with Lourens, it was a shock to be on her own again. “For the first two months I felt quite depressed,” she recalls. “I didn’t have a sense of purpose.”

She moved back in with her parents and poured all her energy into her new venture, a beauty salon she opened in Northcliff, Johannesburg, in May 2016.

Kim doesn’t like to dwell on the past. “It’s important to grieve the loss of a relationship and not to take the baggage into your next relationship.”

Does that mean she’s ready for love again? She pauses before she says, “Yes, if the timing is right and the right guy comes along.”

*Lourens declined YOU’s request to comment.



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