A failed attempt to overtake another vehicle led to the early morning accident yesterday at Chebiwor, near Londiani on the Nakuru-Kericho road, in which five people died.
Witnesses say the 14-seater matatu swerved and crashed into a lorry ferrying iron sheets to Kericho.
Seven other people were seriously injured. Those who died were three women and two men.
Londiani OCPD Joseph Odipo said the matatu was heading to Nairobi from Busia. “Drivers of the two vehicles were among those who sustained serious injuries,” he said.
The police boss added that the driver of the matatu belonging to Transline Classic Shuttle was speeding.
“Many accidents have occurred at this area. It is a known black spot, with accidents caused mainly by speeding, overtaking and careless driving,” he said.
Mr Odipo said the road is sloppy, slippery and curved. He urged road users, especially when driving at night, to observe traffic rules.
Eye witnesses said the matatu was overtaking before it collided with the lorry. “It was overtaking another vehicle, but failed. It then collided with the truck,” said Mr Daniel Ngetich.
The extensively damaged wreckages of the two vehicles were towed to Londiani Police Station.
The injured passengers were rushed to Londiani Sub-County Hospital and some transferred to Kericho County Hospital.
Survivor Gerald Onyango said he was asleep when the accident occurred. “I was woken up by a loud bang. That is when l realised we had been involved in an accident. I became unconscious thereafter,” he said from his bed at Londiani Sub-County Hospital. Mr Onyango, who sustained minor head injuries, said he was heading to Nairobi from Busia.
Another passenger, Mr Sun Olola, also sustained minor injuries. “I was talking to a friend in the vehicle when the accident occurred,” he said, adding, “the driver tried to overtake another car. Then I heard a loud bang”.
The bodies were taken to Molo Sub-County Hospital mortuary. A traffic snarl-up ensued on the busy road.