Passengers in a matatu that crashed on the Nyeri-Nyahururu Road killing five on the spot had protested and warned the driver against speeding shortly before the accident, it has emerged.
Survivors of the accident said the driver — a teacher at Baari Primary School in Mairo-Inya township, identified as Mr Wellington King’ori — who was also the owner of the vehicle, had ignored their pleas to slow down before the 14-seater matatu rolled several times at Mahiga. Police and survivors say he lost control of the vehicle.
The death toll rose to nine, after other passengers died while receiving treatment. Three of the causalities, including the driver, were members of one family.
Five of the passengers died on the spot, including the driver, while four other people, including a two-year-old who had accompanied her grandmother, died on arrival at Nyahururu County Referral Hospital.
Among the dead was the driver’s mother, who had also pleaded with her son to stop speeding. She died on the spot.
Bodies of the deceased were taken to the Nyahururu Country Referral Hospital Mortuary.
The victims were mourners returning from a burial in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County. They came from the same Shauri village in Ndaragwa.
“Several pedestrians had alerted us that the vehicle’s tyres were not in a good condition but the driver did not heed our pleas to slow down. Besides, we warned the driver several times against speeding but he did not listen,” Ms Leah Kamau, a survivor, told Nation from her hospital bed. According to Ms Kamau, the driver veered off the road and hit a fence.
Emotions ran high as family and relatives of the nine victims arrived to identify the badly disfigured bodies at the mortuary.
“We had difficulties in identifying my sister’s body at the mortuary because it was badly defaced until when her son arrived and identified her by the clothes she was wearing before leaving for the burial,” said Mr John Maina, whose sister Agnes Nyambura died in the accident.
Ms Nyambura had accompanied a female friend to bury her mother. She died at the Nyahururu hospital.
County Police Commander Philip Opiyo said preliminary investigations revealed that the accident might have been caused by speeding.