The past weekend can only be described as a black weekend. The road carnage started on Friday night, 21 September and continued until late Saturday evening.
During a 36-hour period, 17 people were killed in various accidents throughout Govan Mbeki municipality.
The first fatal accident occurred on Friday afternoon near Trichardt on the N17. The driver of a white VW Polo decided to turn right at a junction that did not allow for a right turn. The driver of a Toyota Fortuner could not avoid the Polo and collided with it causing the Fortuner to overturn. A third vehicle was also involved when the driver of a silver VW Polo failed to avoid the oncoming Fortuner. The Fortuner crashed into the side of the Polo injuring the passengers. One passenger was fatally injured.
The second accident occurred approximately at midnight as a large coal truck collided with a bakkie and a trailer. The Bulletin was not at the scene and does not have clear details as to the extent of the accident. It was confirmed that 3 adults and a child suffered fatal injuries in the accident.
There were a few other accidents between the fatal accidents but they will not be reported on in this article.
The next fatal accident occurred on Saturday afternoon. This accident occurred at the very dangerous turn off towards Brendan Village on the Evander/eMbalenhle road. Eyewitnesses stated on the scene that the driver of a Mazda was driving erratically. They slowed down to let the Mazda pass. The driver of the Mazda sped off towards the T-junction (they were coming from the direction of Brendan Village) and the driver failed to negotiate the corner and bumped into the island. The Mazda continued straight into the path of a fully laden coal truck. The driver of the coal truck allegedly could not avoid the approaching car and crashed into the Mazda, driving over it and dragging the vehicle into the veld. Both the truck and the Mazda caught fire. All 6 of the occupants of the Mazda succumbed to their injuries. 5 were adults and one was a very young child (baby).
Later that evening an accident occurred on the Kinross/Kriel road near the Secunda/Delmas crossing. It is alleged that the driver of a VW Polo tried to make a U-turn when a Chevy Spark collided with the Polo. The force of the impact was so severe that it ripped the Polo in two. Two occupants of the Polo were fatally injured and one person in the Chevy Spark suffered fatal injuries.
As the Bulletin left the scene, word came of another accident at the Brendan Village turn off. This is the same turn off as the afternoon’s truck accident.
The Bulletin arrived at the scene to find a bakkie and a company minibus involved in the accident. Medical personnel were already attending to the injured. It is not yet clear what caused the accident but it is alleged that there was still some debris on the road after the horrific accident that happened the afternoon and that might have caused the accident.
While everyone was attending to the scene, the driver of a white BMW failed to slow down despite all the lights and cars and ploughed into the first accident scene and seriously injured a young ER24 paramedic, Christiaan du Toit (23), and several others. Christiaan was treated on the scene by Langamed personnel and transported to Highveld Mediclinic. He was airlifted shortly thereafter to Milpark Hospital in JHB and is currently stable but critical.
The Bulletin left the scene only to be called to another accident near Sky Hill where a vehicle overturned. The driver of a Nissan X-Trail lost control of his vehicle and it overturned. No Serious injuries were recorded.
Once again, as the Bulletin left the scene they received a call about an accident on the N17 near Leandra Tollgate.
Two vehicles were involved in this accident. A Hyundai i20 and a Ford Ranger bakkie. All three people travelling in the i20 sustained fatal injuries. Only one person travelling in the Ford Ranger was taken to the N17 Hospital.
On Sunday evening the Bulletin attended yet another accident at the Brendan Village turnoff at approximately 19H00. The driver of a Toyota Corolla Verso failed to slow down and crashed into the back of a Toyota Tazz causing the Tazz to overturn. Fortunately, no serious injuries were recorded.
On Monday Morning the Bulletin attended the scene in “Afghanistan” in Kinross where the driver of a VW Cross Polo sped down the road only to lose control of the vehicle in front of the primary school. The vehicle crashed through an electrical pole (wooden) and ended up in one of the houses, injuring a woman that was sleeping in her bed. The driver of the Cross Polo sustained fatal injuries.
The accident on Saturday night where the paramedic was injured might have been avoided had the road been closed off. Several requests to provincial traffic officers fell on deaf ears and the road was not closed in time.
The most worrying aspect of accidents is the spectators and other motorists. Some motorists have an impatience in them that would not make place for reason. A number of cars do not slow down when they are near accidents nor do they listen to the instructions of those who are trying to keep everybody safe. Spectators flock to the scene in the hope of catching a glimpse of something horrid, crowding the area making it very difficult for emergency personnel to do their work. This is also creating a higher risk for other motorists when spectators stop and disembark from their vehicles.
The death toll for this weekend at the time of writing this article stood at 20 fatalities and scores of injured.