Monday, May 11, 2015

Nine killed, four injured after matatu collides with truck on Eldoret-Malaba highway

6:52:00 AM - By Hisia 0

A man views a mangled wreckage of a matatu
Nine people died and four others sustained serious injuries Sunday when a matatu collided with a truck near Kipkaren River Shopping Centre on the Eldoret-Malaba highway.
Police said the matatu driver was speeding at the time, claims denied by a witness who alleged that the matatu was fleeing a team of traffic police officers.
The driver and his conductor are among those who died on the spot in the 11am accident at the black-spot.
Others who died were two men, two women and a young girl. The matatu had 12 passengers.
Western region traffic police boss, Mr Evans Getembe, said the matatu was heading to Eldoret from Kakamega while the lorry was heading to Bungoma.
“The matatu driver hit a bump and lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle bounced and collided with the lorry.
"The matatu driver was speeding and thus the grisly incident,” said the police officer.
But a witness differed with the police account, claiming that the matatu driver was fleeing from officers who were pursuing him in a red car.
“The matatu driver was speeding while being trailed by the police and the reason for the careless overtaking was to evade the officers,” said the witness, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.
The injured were taken to Webuye District Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret, while the bodies were taken to the MTRH mortuary.
In July 2014, another seven people died in an accident at the same spot.
A truck driver lost control of the vehicle as he tried to negotiate a bend and ploughed into a crowd by the road.
Meanwhile, heavy rains pounding Turkana County have wreaked havoc on the Kitale-Lodwar highway, making transport a nightmare for motorists and travellers.
The state of the road is worse between Ortum in West Pokot County and Lokichar in Turkana County, a section where two vehicles stalled due to huge potholes, mud and flooding that occurred on Saturday night.
The lorries were carrying goods from Kitale to Lodwar.
At Kalimorock near Lokichar, a seasonal river flooded, cutting off transport on the busy highway for two days.
More than 200 vehicles heading in either direction had to wait for more than six hours before the water flowing from the slopes ceased and the muddy riverbed became passable.
A passenger, Ms Naomi Kukoh, who was travelling to Kitale, accused the Kenya National Highway Authority of inaction over the bad road.
Ms Kukoh said the road was crucial as it links Kenya with the neighbouring states of South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Mr Mark Oloo, a driver, said the rains that have pounded the area in the past two weeks have deepened the potholes.
“If the rains continue for the next four months, only four-wheel-drive vehicles would be able to use the road,” said Mr Oloo.
It takes a public service vehicle 13 hours to travel from Lodwar to Kitale due to the poor condition of the road

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