Two dead, 36 hurt after two matatus collide in Meru

Monday January 8 2018

Mutonga bridge Meru County

The wreckage of one of the matatus which collided head on near Mutonga bridge in Meru County on January 7, 2018. A driver and a passenger died while 27 passengers were injured in the crash. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ALEX NJERU
More by this Author
By KEN BETT
More by this Author

A driver and a passenger have died while 36 other people have been injured in a road crash near Mutonga bridge in Meru County.

The head on collision which happened at around 9pm Sunday involved two 14-seater matatus, one belonging to Meru Nissan Sacco and the other to Mekina Sacco, both operating between Meru and Nairobi. 

According to Chogoria PCEA Mission Hospital manager, Mrs Maryann Gitonga, the driver of the Meru Nissan Sacco matatu which was coming from Chuka direction died on the spot and the passenger was confirmed dead on arrival at the hospital in Tharaka-Nithi County. 

"We received 27 injured passengers and two bodies,” said Mrs Gitonga. 

She said some arrived in critical condition but by Monday morning most of them were out of danger. 

OVERTAKING

According to eye witness, Mr Julius Mutegi, the Mekina Sacco matatu was overtaking on the climbing lane when it hit the oncoming one, killing the driver. 

Red Cross Central and Eastern regions Coordinator Gitonga Mugambi has asked residents to volunteer and donate blood at the Chogoria hospital to help the injured passengers.

He urged drivers to adhere to traffic laws to avoid crashes which are claiming many lives. 

Meru Nissan Sacco assistant chairperson, Ms Wanja Karuku, also asked drivers to follow traffic laws and avoid unnecessary rush. 

She asked police to be alert in order to arrest and prosecute rogue drivers who have a record of reckless driving. 

"This Mekina Sacco driver has three accident cases pending in court but he is still on the road,” said MS Karuku. 

The driver fled the scene of the Sunday night incident.

SPEEDING

Imenti South OCPD Christonus Okutu said they have launched investigations into the incident, adding that preliminary investigations revealed that the vehicles may have been speeding at the time of the crash.

Mr Okutu added that the vehicles were towed to the police station for inspection.

Questions will be raised on how the matatus were allowed to travel at night given that the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) banned night travel for long-distance PSVs a week ago.

In a statement, the authority said all travel will be scheduled between 6am and 7pm.