Fortuner driver narrowly escapes hijacking on N4

A collision between the hijackers ultimately spared the motorist and her elderly mother from a dreaded nightmare.

A warning was issued to other motorists on safety groups yesterday, following the alleged attempted hijacking of a Fortuner driver and her elderly mother on the N4 near Bronkhorstspruit.

The victim explained that they were travelling from Pretoria to Middelburg in her mother’s 2016 Fortuner, and stopped to have something to eat at The Rose One Stop.

Roughly 3km from the One Stop, a charcoal VW Polo with five suspects inside, pulled up behind her vehicle and rode on their rear, urging them to drive faster.

The driver passed a truck and the Polo slowed down, where it was joined by an older model blue Hyundai, which overtook her in the yellow lane trying to stop them by swerving in front of their vehicle.

Both the Polo and Hyundai tried to get the driver to stop. When she suddenly braked, and by their own error, the two hijackers’ vehicles crashed into each other.
The victim added that a Toyota Avanza driving next to her, which seemed to be part of the hijackers’ convoy, then suddenly made a U-turn.

The victim had also stopped her own vehicle to avoid colliding with the crash, when all the suspects jumped out.

“I knew we had trouble. Luckily we didn’t stop completely and could get away. The Polo was also smashed quite badly.”

The victim’s account was echoed by Ms Karen Loesch, who went through the same ordeal roughly four years ago.

“I had also stopped at the same One Stop in my Nissan bakkie, and after driving roughly 8km from there, three vehicles tried to box me in and force me off the road.”
Karen kept driving, despite being forced onto the gravel next to the highway, and pressed her Tracker panic button.

She refused to stop and kept going with the three cars boxing her in until a police vehicle drove up and scared the suspects off.

“It was a very bad experience. I am not one of those people who allow these things to take over, but for older people, these experiences are traumatic and stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

Karen added that it all comes down to vigilance.

“Especially if you are a woman alone. Be vigilant, if you stop, observe which cars follow you and whether they decrease speed when you do or accelerate when you do. These rest stops are the ideal place for hijackers to scope their next victims, because you are not aware you are being watched.”

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