The driver of a haulage truck that recently collided head-on with a commuter omnibus at Ngezi Bridge in Featherstone along the Harare-Beitbridge Highway, killing 19 people, has appeared at the Chivhu Magistrates’ Court facing 19 counts of culpable homicide.
Jeremiah Haisoswi (30) of Epworth appeared before magistrate Miss Rufaro Panavanhu last weekend.
He was charged with causing the deaths of 19 passengers who were in the commuter omnibus that was travelling from Murambinda to Harare.
The haulage truck that Haisoswi was driving allegedly encroached onto the lane of the commuter omnibus, resulting in the crash.
Sixteen people died on the spot while three others died on admission at Chivhu Hospital. Haisoswi was remanded out of custody on free bail to July 16 for trial.
Police confirmed the developments on Monday. Investigations carried out so far revealed that the haulage truck driver, who was travelling from Harare, claimed that he was driving behind another commuter omnibus whose driver suddenly applied brakes, resulting in him swerving to the right to avoid hitting it.
This resulted in a head-on collision with another kombi that was going in the opposite direction. The kombi was dragged underneath the truck for a few metres before it plunged into the bridge.
The truck driver, who was travelling alone, escaped unhurt.
Police, fire brigade and ambulances from Harare attended the scene.
President Mnangagwa has since declared the accident a national disaster.
In his condolence message, the President said he learnt of the news of the loss of lives with sadness and distress, and called for a full investigation to ascertain the cause of the accident.
He said lessons should be learnt to avoid recurring losses of human capital in the country.