Killer driver: My speed was too much for curb

HORROR: Two women were killed and about 50 pupils injured in this bus accident. Pic. Lucky Nxumalo. 09/10/07. © Sowetan.
HORROR: Two women were killed and about 50 pupils injured in this bus accident. Pic. Lucky Nxumalo. 09/10/07. © Sowetan.

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The driver of a bus that overturned killing two women pedestrians and injuring about 50 school children on board immediately owned up to driving at high speed.

"The curve cheated me as I was driving too fast," he confessed to Metro police yesterday at the scene in Honeydew on the West Rand.

The two unidentified women, aged between 30 and 40, were walking in Ridge Street in Laser Park, Honeydew, when the bus, which overturned, landed on them, killing them instantly.

One of the women was apparently cut in half.

The children, pupils at Golang Primary School inside Kiepersol poultry farm, were travelling from Zandspruit squatter camp and other nearby neighbourhoods to school when the accident happened at about 8am. The children were supposed to have been in class at that time.

Johannesburg Metro police spokesman Inspector Edna Mamonyane said the children claimed that their driver was always speeding.

Mamonyane said: "It was raining and the road was wet when the accident happened. The driver lost control of the bus as he approached the curve in Zeiss Street. The bus, which landed on its side, fell on top of the women, trapping them. They died instantly."

Mamonyane said that 13 pupils who were in the bus suffered serious injuries and were taken to Chris Hani-Baragwanath and Leratong hospitals.

"They are in a serious but stable condition. Another 35 children were treated at the scene for minor injuries and were taken to Honeydew police station where they received counselling."

Two hours after the accident, the women's bodies were still trapped under the bus. A tow truck was called and the bus was pulled up.

Mamonyane said the 30-year-old driver was charged with culpable homicide. He will appear in the Roodeport magistrate's court today.

Eyewitness Zito Ndlovu, 20, confirmed to Sowetan that the bus was indeed speeding.

Ndlovu, who was waiting for transport to work, said: "If the bus was not travelling at such a high speed, it would not have overturned. The two women tried to run away but it was too late. The children escaped because they were hurled through the windscreen."

Teacher Jemina Mosenogi said that an eight-year-old pupil gave paramedics a teacher's number and they were called.

The children's parents were then called. Some were clearly relieved when they discovered that their children were not in the bus.

Some found their way to the two hospitals to look for their children.