4 people including a school child killed in kombi accident at roadblock, ZRP boss issues statement

Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi

POLICE have launched investigations into an incident in which four people including a learner died, while eight others were injured when a Toyota Hiace commuter omnibus burst its left tyre and overturned after passing through a police checkpoint along the Vumba-Mutare Road in Mutare yesterday morning.

Some eye witnesses alleged that one of the police officers manning the checkpoint threw a spike in a bid to stop the speeding commuter omnibus which then burst its left tyre before overturning and landing on the precast wall at CMED Depot at around 7am.

The deceased include one man, two women and a school child. The vehicle had 12 people on board including the driver.

Among the eight who were injured, the driver is in critical condition. The injured were taken to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital in Mutare.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident.

“The ZRP is investigating the circumstances in which a speeding Toyota Hiace kombi went through a police checkpoint along Vumba-Mutare Road. The vehicle had a left tyre burst after the roadblock and it overturned before landing on a precast wall at CMED Mutare Depot this (yesterday) morning at 7pm.

“As a result, four people died while eight others were injured. The police are now conducting investigations to establish what actually transpired in this sad and unfortunate incident,” he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi dismissed widespread claims that police officers had thrown a tyre-shredding spike in front of the oncoming vehicle in an attempt to stop it.

“The high roof white kombi did not have number plates. When the commuter omnibus got to a traffic checkpoint, the driver failed to stop. About 500m from the checkpoint, the commuter omnibus rear left tyre burst and the driver lost control of the vehicle. It veered off the road, rolling three times before landing against the CMED precast wall,” he said.

“There was no use of spikes to stop the vehicle by any police officer. It is only being said in social media circles, but otherwise no spike was used.”

Asst Comm Nyathi also confirmed that the omnibus was carrying a combination of school children and other passengers.

The accident sent tongues wagging, with some of the earliest people to arrive at the scene claiming that a female police officer threw a tyre-shredding spike under the vehicle in an attempt to stop it.

One witness interviewed by our Mutare Bureau, said: “I saw a body on the spot, but there were more. The incident happened around 7am. A female police officer threw a spike under the vehicle resulting in the driver losing control.”

— Herald

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