A devastating turn of events unfolded on the N3 Durban-bound lane near Liberty Midlands Mall, Pietermaritzburg, late on Friday evening, claiming the lives of a traffic officer and a tow truck operator who were attending to an initial accident.
On Friday night, ALS Paramedics were dispatched to respond to a truck that had overturned near Liberty Midlands Mall on the N3 southbound.
Working in coordination with the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) traffic police and other role players, emergency personnel found the truck on its side upon arrival at the scene.
In an attempt to safeguard the accident area, RTI cordoned off the zone and deployed vehicles to warn oncoming traffic approaching the accident.
KZN’s RTI spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu-Mali told The Witness that at around 9 pm, a tanker truck crashed and fell on its side allegedly after its brakes failed.
“Our officers went to do a pre-warning and while they were at the scene another truck ploughed into them.”
She said the scene had already been secured and pre-warning cones were placed on the road.
“The traffic officers were letting in a Durban police vehicle when the truck crashed into the scene. The police vehicle was also damaged a little,” she said.
ALS Paramedics were attending to the truck driver, who had suffered minor injuries when tragedy struck a second time.
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Another truck came hurtling down townhill and crashed into the first overturned tanker hitting a police officer, a tow truck operator, and one of the attending medics.
Mngomezulu-Mali said the paramedic was injured and the truck driver from the initial accident was also injured.
“The traffic officer was busy operating at the scene when the truck crashed into him and then into the other truck.”
She said she could not name the officer at the moment, but said he was a provincial inspector who was hardworking and dedicated to his job.
“He was a hardworking, principled provincial inspector. He was a very humble person. We lost a quality officer I must say, he can never be replaced,” said Mngomezulu who was also at the scene.
She said the scene was cleared by 4.30 am.
Garrith Jamieson from ALS Paramedics said their medic, who was injured at the scene, underwent emergency surgery shortly after the accident.
“We would like to send our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the police officer and tow truck operator. We wish our staff member a speedy recovery,” said Jamieson.
Investigations are underway to ascertain the cause of the secondary collision.