Driver of bus in Matuu crash surrenders to police

Wednesday March 18 2020
bus-pic

The bus that hit a lorry in Matuu, Machakos County, killing 14 passengers on March 27, 2019. The driver, who escaped after the incident, has now surrendered to the police. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KITAVI MUTUA

The driver of the bus that rammed into a stationary truck in Matuu, Machakos County, killing 14 passengers, has surrendered to the police.

The driver, who fled the scene soon after the grisly crash, surrendered at Matuu Police Station Thursday morning and was immediately arrested.

According to Yatta OCPD Joseph Karanja, the bus driver will be charged at Kithimani Law Courts as soon as police complete investigations.

"He turned himself in and is in our custody. We had earlier directed the bus owners to make sure the driver comes forward and records a statement with police," said Mr Karanja.

DANGEROUS DRIVING

The OCPD said the driver be charged with causing the 14 deaths by dangerous driving.

The bus, which was headed to Nairobi from Mandera, rammed into a stationary truck parked near Matuu town on the side of road on straight stretch of the busy highway.

The victims, who included 10 men, three women and a child – and all of whom were seated on the left hand side of the ill-fated bus – died on the spot during the 4.33am incident.

The truck, which was ferrying raw gypsum from Garissa, was hit from behind.

It had been parked on the roadside minutes earlier after developing mechanical problems.

VEERED OFF LANE

The bus driver appeared to have slightly veered off his lane, as if he was overtaking another vehicle, but how he ended up hitting the stationary truck, parked on the shoulders of the highway, remains a mystery.

Detectives are keen to establish how the bus managed to cover more than 1,000 kilometres of a torturous journey from Mandera to Matuu within 22 hours, with several stopovers along the way.

The bus left Mandera town at 8.30am on Tuesday morning and took the Elwak-Wajir-Garissa-Mwingi-Thika-Nairobi route.

This route is 1,200 kilometres long and by the time of the crash in Matuu town, the bus had only 106 kilometres left before its final destination.

Ordinarily, it takes a minimum of 30 hours to travel from Mandera to Nairobi by bus, cruising at the recommended speed. This means the bus would have arrived in Nairobi between noon and 2pm.

Machakos County Police Commander Mohammed Farah said his officers will question the bus owners to establish how many drivers had been assigned to this particular one.