Barely a day after Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai issued new rules on road blocks and traffic checks, Bomet residents were treated to a dramatic encounter between officers and a motorist, which almost ended tragically.
The chase began not far from the Longisa County Referral Hospital and ended more than 14 kilometres away in an incident that left locals and administrators baffled.
On Wednesday evening, family members from Kiromwok in Merigi ward, Bomet East Sub-County hired a Toyota Probox and headed to the hospital to pick up their relative, a woman who had undergone an operation.
About five minutes after leaving the hospital gates, the car chase ensued.
According to residents, the police have been harassing Probox drivers and demanding bribes on suspicion that they operate as public service vehicles on the Mulot-Longisa-Bomet highway.
The driver of the Probox is said to have disregarded an order to stop by the police who then jumped on their Land Cruiser and gave chase.
At Kyogong, some 10km from the referral hospital, the driver turned to a rough road that leads to Merigi trading centre.
The chase car accelerated as the police turned on the sirens, startling locals in the area.
About four kilometres on the untarmacked road, the Probox hit a bump and veered off the road, rolled and landed on its side.
The police car that was now on the Probox's tail came to a stop. The officers switched off the siren and suddenly drove off at high speed leaving behind the trapped Probox occupants and screaming onlookers.
Members of the public propped up the car and helped the occupants, who had bruises, out of the vehicle as the driver fled on foot amidst the confusion and shock.
Being a rural road, there was no vehicle near to rush the injured to hospital.
But a few minutes later, Bomet deputy county commissioner Mr Jacob Oditi, and the Bomet East Sub-County police commander Mr J. Muli arrived at the scene in one vehicle.
Mr Oditi offered his official car to take the injured to the Merigi health centre as residents decried the police action.
Mr Muli confirmed the incident but declined to give more information on the entire incident.
“The occupants of the vehicle did not sustain any serious injuries as most of it were bruises. I cannot comment beyond that,” he said.
A medic at Merigi health centre confirmed the victims were treated at the facility with the woman who had undergone surgery at Longisa complaining of headache and leg pains.
Residents of the area who said harassment of motorists by the police in the sub-county was a common demanded action be taken against the officers.
“The officers should be disciplined for risking the lives of the occupants of the private vehicle and failing to assist them after they were involved in an accident,” said Mrs Rachel Tonui, a local.
The Probox was extensively damaged.
The Nation established that the police Land Cruiser is assigned to Kapkomolwo police station in Longisa ward but was in use at the Longisa sub-county police headquarters on the day of the accident.
According to a police source, the driver of the chase car had been transferred to Ruiru in central Kenya a month ago but managed to have the redeployment cancelled.
On Wednesday, the IGP Mutyambai ordered traffic officers to stop erecting road blocks or conducting traffic checks on highways without their seniors’ permission as he moved to stem rampant corruption on Kenyan roads.
Motorists were also cautioned about taking advantage of the absence of traffic officers from the roads to flout traffic regulations.