Namibian netball player opens up about her hit-and-run hell

Leandri van der Walt. (Photo: Facebook/Leandri van der Walt)
Leandri van der Walt. (Photo: Facebook/Leandri van der Walt)

The victim of a hit and run, the video recording of which went viral last week, has spoken to the media for the first time.

“Please hurry – I’m dying,” Leandri van der Walt (25) told her boyfriend, Xico Coetzee (24), on the night of the incident..

Leandri is speaking to YOU from Windhoek. “That’s what I told my boyfriend when he picked me up and put me in the car.”

She’s just been discharged from hospital and is recovering at home, where she’s speaking to us on the phone.

“He saved my life,” she says of Xico, her boyfriend of three months.

He scooped her up from behind a car which had run over her with its front and back wheels and appeared to be preparing to reverse over her again. Then he ran to his bakkie with her in his arms.

In the footage, taken at a petrol station in Windhoek, it’s clear that Xico’s bakkie is badly damaged as a sedan drives into it from behind. The shocking footage of the incident, recorded on CCTV, has been widely circulated on social media.

It was recorded on 30 November at 2.50am at a petrol station in Tal Street, in the Windhoek CBD. It shows how a sedan chases Xico’s bakkie in circles around the petrol pumps. Xico, wearing a yellow T-shirt, jumps out of the bakkie with Leandri, in a red T-shirt, at his heels. She’s a member of Namibia’s Desert Jewels netball team.

In the next moment, the sedan drives over her – seemingly deliberately.

Leandri says she recalls very little of the moment she was hit. “I’ve watched the video to try to jog my memory. It was very emotional seeing that happen to me,” she says.

“I can’t recall anything from before or during the incident, but I have some memory of afterwards – how Xico picked me up and put me in the car and drove me to the emergency room,” she adds.

“It’s not like you know what it feels like to be dying. In the bakkie, I struggled to keep my eyes open. Maybe I was passing out. That’s why I told him to hurry or I wouldn’t make it.”

She was treated for injuries – to her ankle, elbow, neck, shoulder and hips – at Mediclinic Windhoek.

“There’s a long road to recovery ahead,” she tells us. Doctors haven’t been able to confirm whether she’ll be playing netball in the next season.

“At the moment, I’m hoping to start training again halfway through the upcoming season,” Leandri says.

Police in Namibia have confirmed the incident and facts. “There are no new developments. The suspect was denied bail and his next court date is 5 May 2020,” police spokesman Kaunapawa Shikwambi told YOU.  

The suspect has been identified as 31-year-old Ruandre Wessels.

All Leandri is prepared to say about him at this point is that there was an argument with Ruandre earlier that night at a different location.

Ruandre has appeared in the Windhoek magistrate’s court for charges of attempted murder and fleeing the scene of an accident.

In the video footage, the sedan is seen also running over a second person. Upon inquiry, the police were unable to provide any information on that person’s identity nor the extent of their injuries.

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