Sukulwenkosi Dube, Plumtree Correspondent
A BUS driver who attempted to cross a flooded river before it overturned with 74 passengers on board has been charged with negligent driving.
James Moyo, 69, pleaded not guilty when he appeared before a Plumtree magistrate yesterday charged over the January 12 incident.
Moyo, an employee of AJAY Motorways, drove into a flooded Matshongwana River in Mangwe district but failed to navigate his way and the bus overturned.
His passengers, who were travelling from Bulawayo to Brunapeg, escaped with minor injuries.
Moyo said he exercised caution by first stopping for over an hour to allow the water to subside. He insists he only attempted to drive across the river when he made a judgment that the water levels had subsided to safe levels.
Stanley Chinyanganya, for the prosecution, said Moyo saw some pedestrians crossing the river and assumed that it was safe for him to also cross.
“On January 12 at around 5PM, Moyo was driving a public service vehicle with 74 passengers on board coming from Bulawayo proceeding to Brunapeg area in Mangwe. Upon reaching the 7 kilometre peg along the Brunapeg-Marula Road he found Matshongwana River flooded and the water was flowing over the bridge. He parked the bus and waited for about two hours for the water to subside,” he said.
He said when the bus was near the middle of the 45 metre length bridge, Moyo failed to navigate his way and the bus overturned, landing on its side.
Chinyanganya said windows were shattered and some passengers sustained minor injuries.
The injured were taken to hospital where they were treated and discharged.
He said Moyo had failed to act reasonably when an accident appeared imminent. He also said the driver was negligent for driving through a bridge that was not visible due to flooding.
The trial continues.