Police: Driver in matatu crash that killed 10 was reckless

Scene of the accident at Got Kokech along Homa Bay-Kendu Bay Road where eight people died yesterday.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group.

Police in Homa Bay have said reckless driving caused a matatu to crash on Monday evening, killing all its occupants.

The death toll from the crash rose to 10 after two more people died while being treated at Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Investigations revealed that the accident could have been avoided if the driver had been more careful.

The accident occurred at 5pm at Got Kokech on the Homa Bay-Kendu Bay road when the matatu collided head-on with an oncoming trailer ferrying fuel to Isebania in Migori County.

County Police Commander Samson Kinne said the crash occurred on a section of the road with clear visibility.

“The driver could have easily seen the oncoming vehicle, being that the accident happened before darkness. He made the wrong judgment of overtaking when another vehicle was approaching from the opposite direction,” Mr Kinne said.

Investigations also revealed that the matatu was going at high speed and the driver was trying to overtake another vehicle when his vehicle hit the trailer on the right side of the road.

Seven people, including the driver of the matatu, died on the spot.

Two more succumbed

One person died en route to the hospital, while the other two died in the hospital’s outpatient department and in the theatre.

Among the dead were two children and eight adults, including two women.

Mr Kinne cautioned drivers against reckless driving.

“Drivers, especially of public service vehicles, should be careful on the road. They should understand that they are ferrying passengers,” he said.

He added: “Don’t just speed because you are going after passengers and looking for money.”

The wrecks of the two vehicles were towed to the Homa Bay Police Station.

Families and relatives of the deceased passengers visited the station to view the vehicles and collect their property.

Mr Caleb Ramogi was among those at the station when police officers took out property that was still in the matatu.

He went to pick up a blood-stained bag and books belonging to his son, Milkija Odoyo, a 21-year-old student at Kobala Secondary School, who was among the dead.

Mr Ramogi said he bid farewell to his son some minutes after the accident happened.

“I gave him some money and promised that I will add him more when he gets to school,” he said.

He learned about the accident over the radio.

At first, he was hesitant to enquire who was involved in the accident, thinking that his son had travelled safely.

News about the accident was the subject of a discussion on a local radio station, and he decided to find out more.

“I took a motorcycle to the hospital at 9pm to find out if my son was involved in the accident. This is after I was told he had not reached school,” he said.

He found his son’s body among those in the mortuary.

Families were planning to witness postmortems on the bodies on Tuesday morning.