Three people, including a police officer, died on Christmas Day in a road crash involving a Nairobi Githurai Sacco bus in Kericho County.
Scores of others were injured in the accident that occurred at the Kericho junction to Kisumu and are fighting for their lives at Kericho District Hospital.
The 52-seater bus that plies the Thika Road route, from Githurai 45 to Nairobi Central Business District, was ferrying passengers to Kisumu for Christmas and New Year festivities.
The moments before the 7pm crash were dramatic— the public watched as desperate passengers jumped out of the moving bus at Taidys and Siloam on realising that it had developed a serious mechanical problem.
Kericho County Commander James Mugera told the Nation that the brakes of the bus failed before the driver lost control.
"The bus' brakes failed as it went down the slope from town. As it approached Kisumu road, where traffic police conduct checks, a lorry was negotiating the spikes,” said Mr Mugera.
“The bus then hit the lorry before landing in a swampy ditch."
The out-of-control bus hit and killed a Traffic police officer on the spot at the roadblock, Mr Mugera said.
By the end of Monday, the commander said they had accounted for only 31 passengers who were receiving treatment at the hospital.
The others, he said, jumped out of the moving bus and their whereabouts were not immediately established.
Questions were raised on how the bus belonging to Githurai Travellers Sacco was allowed to ply the 400-kilometre route from the capital to the lakeside city.
With police and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) conducting spot-checks on vehicle roadworthiness on the Northern Corridor, queries were also raised on how the bus was allowed to operate with faulty brakes.
OVER 170 DEAD
However, police said passengers make special arrangements for transport during the festive season when demand surpasses supply.
Over 170 people have died in road crashes across Kenya this month alone, according to official statistics.
Investigations show that majority of the accidents were caused by speeding, lane indiscipline, reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
The National Police Service, NTSA and the Kenya National Highways Authority on December 15 identified dangerous road stretches where crashes were likely to occur.
They are Salgaa, Sachangwan, Migaa and Soysambu in Nakuru County.
In Taita Taveta County, Manyani is the area to watch when on the road.
Lukenya and Maanzoni in Machakos County are also classified as blackspots.
Others are Kiima Kiu/Salama and Konza (Makueni County), Ntulele and Duka Moja Market centre (Narok County) as well as Kenol to Sagana and Kenol to Murang’a sections in Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties.
The other blackspot is at Bonje area in Kilifi County.