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Friday, January 11, 2013
Fatal cop accident conundrum
SMASH. The wreck of an Audi R8 that crashed on
THE Gauteng police’s version of events about the accident that claimed the life of a police officer and a civilian on Oxford Road in Johannesburg has come under fire.
11 January 2013 | JEVANNE GIBBS
Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini alleged that a Sandton police officer, 31, had climbed into the Audi R8, driven by Areff Haffijee, after it had been stopped and searched by police at a road-block at 4am. They believed Haffijee, 32, to have been in possession of dagga.
Haffijee had then allegedly sped off with the officer still inside the vehicle, which resulted in the other officer chasing after the pair in a police van.
“In Rosebank, the driver of the vehicle allegedly lost control,” said Dlamini. “The vehicle hit a tree, a wall and a streetlight pole before it was broken into three pieces. Both (men) died at the scene.”
Dlamini’s version of the story differed from that of an eyewitness who viewed the accident at the corner of Oxford Road and Northwold Drive. The eyewitness, known as The Pod, or @SlyPod on twitter, tweeted her account of the accident over the next few hours and called the police’s reported version of events “lies”.
“...The police were NOT chasing this guy... they drove behind him. Also looking relaxed. I saw the whole thing,” she tweeted.
She added that music had been playing in the Audi while the driver and passenger had their elbows out the window, before the vehicle suddenly sped off.
“...The R8 driver sped off... he hit the pole trying to make a U-turn,” she tweeted.
“The car split in 3...driver’s seat (1), passenger (2) and the engine part (3)...”
“Me and the police van that was driving down the road got to the scene first, it was fatal, I feel sick thinking about it.”
The witness’s account of the story was retweeted by a number of twitter users, which caused her twitter handle “@slypod” to trend in South Africa yesterday.
This led to various users questioning the police’s account of the story, and also that of the witness, as loopholes were evident in both stories.
The witness was also criticised for leaving the scene without giving a statement to police.
The elusive @PigSpotter tweeted: “I believe an eye witness over a news report fabricated by police.”
Dlamini maintained that reports about the police vehicle and the Audi drag racing were inaccurate.
Justice Project South Africa national chairman Howard Dembovsky said that motorists regularly left the scenes of accidents or crimes.
“It seems that people don’t want to ‘get involved’ where they really should, as eyewitnesses can be quite helpful to investigators,” he told The Citizen yesterday.
COMMENTS BY SONNY
This incident leaves more questions than answers?
The eye witness must have had reason to leave the scene of accident.
She was not involved but merely a witness.
I believe the policemen involved were so shaken that they would not have been able to take her statement at the scene.
She would have been requested to report at the Rosebank Police Station for her statement to be recorded?
We must remember that Rosebank was notorious for illicit dealing between police and prostitutes. 3rd Degree reporter Debora Patta was the producer of the programme.
If there was a legal road block the Area Commissioner would have had to give written authority for such an action?
The truth will out.