When Maximilian Chemutai survived a freak motorcycle accident on Boxing Day at Chebarus in Nandi County, it was both unbelievable and a huge relief to her.
Chemutai, 21, was returning home from an errand at the local shopping centre when the boda boda she was travelling in collided with a matatu along Kapsabet-Shamakhokho road.
The mother of a three-year-old son survived narrowly, escaping with a minor bruise on her knee.
Grateful to be alive, Chemutai took to Facebook, as a matter of routine, to narrate her luck to her followers.
“God you are so amazing. I will forever glorify and praise your name. I was involved in an accident. It was God’s favour to escape without any serious injuries,” she posted.
She signed off by wishing her friends “a happy and prosperous New Year”, writing in bold letters, a sign of her huge relief.
Messages of goodwill poured in from tens of her friends and well-wishers from across the country.
By last Friday, the incident had started to slowly fade into oblivion as Chemutai recuperated at home.
Fast forward to Saturday afternoon. Chemutai left home to meet the boda boda rider to “sort out the matter” since the incident had been recorded with the police at Chebarus.
But then in a tragic turn of events, Chemutai was hit by a matatu while standing by the roadside at the same shopping centre.
This time though, Chemutai was not so lucky. She died on the spot.
Eye witnesses say the matatu’s brakes failed and ploughed into a crowd that was standing by the roadside, killing six people in its wake.
From a lucky escape to death. A twisted fate.
On Sunday, her Facebook page was abuzz again as friends stunned returned, this time not to wish her a quick recovery, but to bid Chemutai farewell.
Chemutai was studying mass communication at Kisii University's Eldoret campus.
According to her family, she was to resume her studies in January after deferring her course earlier in the year.
Grief-stricken friends and relatives gathered yesterday at her Chebarus home to mourn this most stupefying death. Her mother Beatrice Chebet was inconsolable.
“I can’t understand what happened. She was recovering well from the knock. It is so confusing,” Ms Chebet told the Nation, describing her daughter as outgoing and hardworking.
Her elder brother Geoffrey Kipkoech, who was with his sister at the time of the incident, missed death by a whisker.
“I had just joined her on the roadside when a matatu sped towards where we were standing. I managed to dash but she was not lucky,” a devastated Kipkoech narrated.
From her photos on Facebook, Chemutai was always a buoyant woman, always enthusiastic about sharing events around her life with her online followers.
Mourning her, one of her friends posted that escaping death two days earlier had probably allowed Chemutai the opportunity to say final goodbyes to her friends.
Nandi County Commissioner Mohammed Barre said the unusual accident was being investigated and called on motorists and other road users to exercise caution on the road.
“The drivers must avoid speeding and ensure that their vehicles are in good condition to avoid road calamities,” said Barre.
Reporting by James Kahongeh, Tom Matoke, and Stanley Kimuge