Relatives of Nakuru crash victims recount their last moments

Accident scene

An abandoned footwear at the scene of the accident at Eveready roundabout in Nakuru City on December 31, 2023. The accident, while involved a 14-seater matatu and a trailer ferrying maize, claimed seven lives.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Emotions ran high at Nakuru City mortuary on Sunday evening as families of those killed in the road crash at Eveready Roundabout on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway came to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

Four of the seven bodies that were brought to the facility on Sunday morning have been positively identified by their family members.

Mr Bernard Otara Ateka, who is still coming to terms with his wife's death, said she had gone to buy fresh produce in Nakuru town market when the accident happened.

Accident scene

A woman stands next to the wreckage of a 14-seater matatu which was involved in a road crash at Eveready roundabout in Nakuru City on December 31, 2023. 

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Recalling their last moments together, Mr Ateka said his deceased wife, Helen Kemunto, woke up in the morning as usual, prayed and said goodbye to the family.

She left some money for breakfast and promised to call her husband when she reached the market.

However, before Mr Ateka woke up, their eldest daughter came running and informed him about the grisly accident.

Huge loss for family

The daughter asked him the colour of the shoes her mother. The daughter then hurriedly left the house, leaving Mr Ateka confused.

Mr Ateka said he and his son walked from their home in Ngata to the scene, where he discovered his wife's pink shoes by the side of the road.

"I had to be brave for my son. We boarded a matatu to the hospital but she was not there. It was painful to see her lifeless body in the mortuary. He has left me with five children and a granddaughter. I do not know how to support my family. I have no source of income. We used to help each other raise our children," said as he broke down.

Road crash

The wreckage of a matatu and a trailer that were involved in a road crash at Eveready roundabout in Nakuru on December 31, 2023. 

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

"I have lost my confidant, my friend, and my support system. We had so many plans as a family. We had even bought school uniforms for our children. I plead with the government to help me educate them," he said.

Mr Kennedy Mogaka, who lost a nephew, said he was called by a neighbour who informed him of the tragic accident. Little did he know that his two nephews were among the victims.

Survived the crash

One of his nephews, Brian Obwocha, 24, died on the spot while the other one survived the crash with injuries and has been hospitalised.

"We lost a promising son who left behind a wife and two children. The other sustained serious head injuries and is still in hospital. We pray to God that he responds well to treatment," Mr Mogaka said.

Mrs Rhoda Nyagaka, who spoke on behalf of the family, said they lost a daughter who was their sole breadwinner.

Accident scene

Members of the public at the scene of a road crash that claimed seven lives at Eveready roundabout in Nakuru City on December 31, 2023.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

She said the deceased, identified, Evaline Orina, ran a kiosk in Ngata and had two daughters.

She also faulted the police officers who stopped the matatu at a roadblock moments before the accident happened.

"Children have been orphaned due to the actions of the police. They wanted a bribe of Sh50 from the matatu driver and yet the driver of the truck had honked to alert them that he had lost control of the vehicle. We are calling for speedy investigations into this incident," he said.