Mpumalanga police have denied claims that a police officer who was driving a fully marked state vehicle on Saturday in Standerton was drunk.
“The management refutes all material misconceptions that the police officer was drunk or under the influence of any intoxicating substance,” said Brigadier Leonard Hlathi.
“The medical evidence at police management’s disposal has revealed that the officer has a certain medical condition which cannot be disclosed to the public. That medical condition temporarily subjected him to a state of automatism.”
Hlathi said the police officer, who is attached to the Standerton police station, was on duty driving in a state-owned vehicle when his medical condition took a turn for the worst. The officer did not know he had the condition as he had never suffered from it before, Hlathi said .
“This resulted in him colliding with the brick wall of a private property. The doors of the vehicle were locked with the officer inside alone. The said condition rendered him motionless without anybody coming to his rescue until he got assistance from other police members who came to the scene as soon as they were notified.
“These members then used another key to open the door for him and realised he was unconscious. They immediately took the officer to hospital for medical treatment,” said Hlathi.
A case of reckless and negligent driving was also opened for investigation.
The police officer is recovering and the necessary support from Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) within the service is being given to him to fully return to a normal state of health, Hlathi said.
Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde