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Crash kills N3 hijacker

By Stephanie Saville

CRIME: Trucker causes accident to end attack

A truck driver who was hijacked at the Mooi River toll plaza took a huge leap of faith when he pulled up the handbrake of his vehicle as a hijacker was driving it along the N3, causing it to crash and kill one of his attackers.

The truck driver, Desmond Plaaitjies (37), was seriously injured in the crash.

Police said the drama began at 4 am yesterday morning at the Mooi River Toll Plaza, where Plaaitjies had spent the night en route from Middelburg to Durban.

His eight-ton truck was loaded with meat carcasses, valued at around half a million rand.

Plaaitjies was asleep in the truck when he was awoken by three armed men.

Superintendent Joey Jeevan said the hijackers, all in their mid-thirties, severely assaulted the driver until he lost consciousness, before placing him in the sleeping bin section of the truck.

One of the hijackers then drove the vehicle on the N3 towards Pietermaritzburg, while the other two occupied the passenger seats.

“The driver later regained consciousness and when he realised what was happening, he reached over and engaged the truck’s handbrake, causing it to jack-knife and overturn near the Nottingham Road exit.”

The hijacker driver was killed instantly, but the other two hijackers managed to free themselves and escaped with their firearms.

The truck’s legitimate driver was rushed to Howick Hospital by Drakensberg Medical Rescue and is in a serious but stable condition.

The Witness heard reports that widespread looting of the carcasses took place at the scene of the crash, and according to police, Nottingham Road police rushed to the scene to prevent people from taking the meat.

When the owner of the truck arrived at the scene he had the freight condemned via his insurance company and then fortunate locals who had gathered at the scene were told to help themselves to the mutton.

A case of armed robbery and truck hijacking is being investigated.