2007-02-05 : Police crashes kill three, injure five

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2007-02-05 : Police crashes kill three, injure five

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2007-02-05 13:03


Police crashes kill three, injure five

February 05 2007 at 08:37AM

By Carvin Goldstone & Nduku Buthelezi

Three people have been killed and five have been injured in two incidents involving allegedly drunken police officers in the past week.

In one case, an Umlazi police offcier was arrested for drinking and driving after he had crashed into another motorist in Umlazi on Thursday night.

In the other incident, a Nongoma police officer could face three charges of culpable homicide after he knocked down and killed three members of one family.

Witnesses alleged that the officer was drunk, but investigators are awaiting test results from blood samples to proceed with the investigation.

The policeman was driving a police kombi when it hit and killed Hlengiwe Zulu, 26, and two of her children - Thabiso, 6, and Ayanda, 3, at Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.

The police officer and a few colleagues were allegedly taking the girlfriend of one of them to her home when the incident happened.

Hlengiwe was getting out of a taxi at a bus stop where her children were waiting for her.

While the three were picking up their parcels the police vehicle, allegedly travelling at high speed, knocked them down.

The children were flung into a tree on impact. They and their mother died at the scene.

Zulu's brother, Ngcebo Zulu, said it was painful having to fetch the bodies of his niece and nephew from a tree.

"We had to climb up the tree to take the children down. I can't sleep properly after this incident," he said.

It was alleged that the passengers and the driver of the police vehicle were all drunk.

Locals claimed that bottles of beer and brandy were removed from the police vehicle soon after the incident.

Police Capt Vusi Mbatha said three cases of culpable homicide were being investigated but there was no case of drunken driving at this stage.

He said the investigating officer stated in his report that he did not find any liquor bottles in the vehicle.

Three officers were injured in the accident and were taken to hospital.

Mbatha said the results of blood samples taken from the driver were expected on Monday.

The motorist involved in the Umlazi accident claims that police tried to cover up for an allegedly drunk policeman who crashed into him.

Mbongeni Shongwane said he was travelling home when a police vehicle smashed into the side of his car. His one-year-old baby was flung out of the car but was not injured.

Shongwane, however, was injured in the leg and ribs.

He said he had realised that the policeman, an inspector, was drunk when he got out of his car and went over to the police vehicle to speak to the officer after the crash.

"He was so drunk he couldn't stand and he could hardly even talk.

"The police officer said I must take his registration number and then tried to drive away."

Shongwane said he had reached into the vehicle through the window and removed the keys, refusing to return them until another police officer came to assist.

Shongwane said police who responded, however, tried to pin the blame for the accident on him.

However, a superintendent from the Umlazi police station arrived and the inspector was taken into custody for a blood test.

Police Superintendent Danelia Veldhuizen said an of drunken driving against the inspector was being investigated and that the police had also instituted a departmental investigation.

o This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on February 05, 2007
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