Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent
Fifteen people were killed, 12 of them on the spot, while three others died on admission to Chitungwiza Central Hospital when a kombi they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck at the 51km peg along the Harare-Hwedza highway on Thursday.
The accident, which killed both drivers and left eight people seriously injured, occurred at 7pm.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the driver of the Hino truck encroached into the lane of an oncoming vehicle, resulting in a head-on with the Toyota Hiace.
“A Toyota Hiace (PSV) was travelling towards Marondera with an unknown number of passengers on board whilst a Hino truck was travelling along the said road towards Chitungwiza. On approaching the 51km peg, the driver of the Hino truck encroached into the lane of the oncoming vehicle resulting in a head-on collision with the Toyota Hiace.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the loss of lives through road accidents was worrisome.
“Twelve people died on the spot whilst the other three died on admission at Chitungwiza Hospital for treatment. The bodies of the deceased were also taken to the same hospital for post-mortem,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba named the deceased and appealed to their relatives to proceed to Chitungwiza Central Hospital and assist in identifying them.
“Some of the accident victims are, Ben Magaba (55) of Unit G Seke-Chitungwiza, Elijah Nyabadza of 1074 Mbuya Nehanda Street, Cherutombo-Marondera, Michael Fata (50), Getrude Mugocha (40), Tinashe Bakasa (27),”
“Regina Madziwa (62) of Chiongotere Village Chief Seke, Sean Madziwa (4), Wain Madziwa (2), Lesley Ropafadzo Muteweyi (6) of 12153 Old Zengeza-Chitungwiza, and Febber Mawire (27) of Marondera Prison.”
She warned drivers against night driving.
“Some motorists are driving with defective lights at night and in most cases reaction time is slow due to visibility problems. Other drivers will also be speeding despite these highlighted road conditions,” she said.
“Motorists should plan their journeys to curtail road accidents. Where possible night driving should be avoided at all costs. It is sad that we have lost so many lives on our roads and police are passionately appealing to motorists to schedule their journeys.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said some farmers were taking advantage of night driving to move around with defective vehicles and unlicensed drivers.
“Farmers should not move at night with their produce as they risk their lives and that of others. We are encouraging members of the public to carry their identity cards in order to assist police in the identification process in the event of a road traffic accident,” she said.
“In the meantime, police are appealing to those who are missing their relatives to proceed to Chitungwiza Hospital and assist in identifying 11 bodies.”
One of the survivors, Ms Masline Makanda said she was still in shock after escaping with a fractured leg, arm and a deep scar on the right eye.
“I was seated at the back traveling to Marondera with my six-year-old niece who died on the spot and my five-year-old son who is critically injured and admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU),” she said. “I am in pain and I really do not know how God took me where I am today. I’m still confused trying to understand how it really happened.”
Chitungwiza Central Hospital clinical director Mr Patrick Dhliwayo said the hospital was doing its best to stabilise victims of the crash saying a surgical operation was successfully carried out on a 21-year old woman who was now in dire need of more blood as she lost six litres of blood in the crash.