Nqobile Tshili/Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Correspondents
TWO children aged three and seven years died after being hit by speeding taxis in Bulawayo yesterday while a third person was injured after a police officer allegedly grabbed the steering wheel of a moving vehicle in the city centre.
The Chronicle news crew attended all the three accidents and human error was blamed in all of them.
A grey Honda Fit that ran against traffic on the one-way-street near the intersection of Basch Street and 6th Avenue extension, bumped into the three year old who was strapped to his mother’s back at around 5PM.
The baby flew headlong onto the road and the driver of the car, whose registration number onlookers said was AEE 5226, did not stop.
The tot died on the spot.
A witness, who identified the mother as Ms Netsai Marufu, said: “The child was on his mother’s back when a grey Honda Fit which opposed other vehicles, hit the mother and child who were not expecting a vehicle from that direction. The child died on the spot.”
When the news crew arrived at the scene, the mother was sobbing uncontrollably while her relatives and residents tried to console her.
An angry mob had gathered and was baying for the hit and run driver’s blood.
In the second incident, the seven year old was fatally knocked down by an Expricos Taxi along Bulawayo-Gwanda Road near Bobs Garage in Riverside suburb around 5PM.
She was allegedly trying to cross the busy road to follow her mother who had already crossed to the other side.
When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the scene, the child’s mother sat next to her daughter’s body, weeping inconsolably.
“The sad thing is that they had just picked a $10 note and decided to cross the road to buy some groceries with it. The mother crossed the road and her daughter was hit by a speeding taxi as she ran after her. This is really a difficult thing to occur to any woman let alone mother. How is she going to explain to her husband how the child died? She is going to be left with a lot of ifs,” said one of the witnesses.
Expricos Taxis chairperson Mr Mpumelelo Khumalo mourned the child’s death.
He blamed the driver for failing to exercise due care.
“We heard how the accident occurred but we are blaming our driver. He could have been speeding. As we are talking the driver has been fired. He did not follow our policy that our drivers should always drive on the outer lane. And it’s clear in this accident he was not in the outer lane. We want to express our condolences to the affected family,” said Mr Khumalo.
The third accident occurred around 8AM after a police officer allegedly grabbed the steering wheel of a moving kombi to stop a driver who was fleeing arrest.
The driver lost control of the vehicle and knocked down a man who was walking by the roadside.
A crowd gathered near Hyper Pick N Pay and tried to mete out instant justice on the overzealous cop.
The man was whisked off and by the end of the day the extent of his injuries could not be ascertained.