An alleged drunk driver was hurried off an accident scene by a tow truck driver after police failed to attend the scene despite numerous, desperate phonecalls to 10111 from eye witnesses on Wednesday night.
Pietermaritzburg resident Terrance Powell said he was driving along New England Road at around 10.30 pm on Wednesday when he saw a metallic blue Polo Vivo sedan exiting the Golden Horse Casino at a high speed.
He said the car, which appeared to be transporting six occupants, drove straight through a red robot and attempted to take the N3 on-ramp to the Mall when the car rolled several times.
“People with varying degrees of light injuries were climbing through broken windows and were clearly in no condition to be within 100m of a motor vehicle,” said Powell.
Another eye witness, who asked not to be named as she feared being victimised, said she was driving up New England Road from the Hayfields Kwik Spar and was turning towards the N3 on-ramp when she saw a car speeding towards her.
“I saw he was also going to take the ramp, but something told me to just stop. The car was driving so fast, the wheels were wobbling, and then I saw the vehicle rolling.
“If I had not stopped in mid-turn, they would have crashed into me. I could have been killed.”
The woman said though shaken, she drove to where the Polo came to a halt and met Powell.
“I cannot tell you how many times he called the police to come to the scene. He was so desperate to get them to come to the scene.
“He explained exactly what happened to 10111.”
The woman said the people she saw crawling out of the car wreckage appeared drunk.
The Witness has video footage of the aftermath of the accident in which one can see the tow operator urging the alleged driver into the truck moments before the vehicle was towed away.
A woman can be heard shouting: “No” moments before they leave.
Both Powell and the woman identified a young man in a red shirt as the driver and claim he was “heavily intoxicated”.
“The driver even asked me to send him airtime so he could call someone for a lift home,” said Powell.
Powell said when he called 10111 he was told that because no other cars were involved and no one was killed or injured they could not send police out.
Ambulance services who attended the scene, but asked that their names be withheld, confirmed that the man in the red shirt refused medical treatment.
They too believed he and other occupants of the car were drunk.
Two police sources who are not authorised to speak to the press, said police should have responded to the accident.
“If someone believes a serious offence has occurred, like someone drinking and driving, 10111 should have deployed police or traffic to assess the situation and take blood tests,” said one.
They also said the car should not have been towed away without police first assessing the scene.
Powell said he opened an “Incident Report” against 10111, saying because police didn’t attend the scene, the alleged drunk driver “is now free to drink and drive again”.
The woman said she and Powell asked the towing services not to remove the car until the police arrived.
In the video the alleged driver of the vehicle can be seen talking to an older man who appears to be the driver of the tow truck and calls him “dad”. The older man tells the young man to “get in the f*****g car and go home now”.
The tow truck had no visible branding but The Witness has information that the registration number which appears in photographs is invalid.
KZN police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said on Thursday that if a driver is involved in an accident where there are no injuries, “the police would ask the driver to report the matter to the nearest police station so that an accident report will be completed within 24 hours”.
“In cases where drivers are under the influence of liquor but no injuries are sustained, the police must be informed immediately. [In this case] the police officers were not informed that the driver might be under influence of liquor,” said Gwala in a written statement.