Police now deny cover-up in road crash where five teens perished

Pall bearers carry the casket bearing the remains of Dominic Mwangi Ng’ang’a who was among five teenagers who perished in an accident at Salgaa. [Photo: Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

Police have denied covering up the incident where five teenagers died in an accident at Salgaa on eve of New Year while driving a vehicle belonging to an officer.

They were returning from a popular joint along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway in Nakuru town.

Friends of the deceased claim the youths raised money among themselves to fuel the vehicle.

The five – Kelvin Kamuru, 19, Bill Kamau, 16, Brian Kariuki, 17, Derrick Mbugua, 18, and Dominic Mwangi, 16, died at Salgaa after the vehicle rammed into a bus as they tried overtake a lorry at a black spot.

Residents who spoke to The Standard claimed police were dragging their feet in investigating the incident as it involves one of their own.

“We are angry that police appear not to be taking this issue seriously as it involves one of their own. If it was a civilian who had given out his vehicle, he would have been arrested by now,” one resident said.

Police are also investigating a Njoro-based administration policewoman following claims she gave out the vehicle to the five teenagers despite being under age.

Nakuru AP Commander Francis Kirathe said the AP, who owns the vehicle, had given it out to his friend and they are trying to establish how it ended up with the teenagers.

“The friend had asked for the vehicle as his had developed mechanical problems,” Kirathe said.

He said action will be taken against those responsible and dismissed as unfounded claims that police are trying to cover up the incident.

It is alleged the teenagers raised Sh3,000 and fuelled the car before leaving for Nakuru town where they took drinks at a popular joint along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway.

“Kelvin (one of the deceased) told me they contributed Sh3,000 before they could be allowed to use it on New Year’s eve,” a close friend told The Standard.

Preliminary investigations showed none of the youths had a valid driving licence. We also established that there were no vehicles in any of the teenagers’ homes and residents are still baffled how they had learnt to drive.

After ushering the New Year, the youths decided to return to Njoro and instead of using the shorter Nakuru-Njoro turn off, they opted to use the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.

Longer route

“The car fuel tank was full and they were not in a hurry to go back home so they decided to use the longer route and joined the busy highway,” a football team mate of Kevin said.

The teenagers met their death after the car, with Ugandan registration number plate, rammed into a bus at the Salgaa stretch as it tried to overtake a lorry.

National Authority for the Campaign Against Drugs Abuse (Nacada) Chairman John Mututho said the AP who owns the vehicle and bar owners who sold alcohol to the youths should be arrested.

Mr Mututho said they have already gone to court seeking to have the joints closed and are targetting two bars in Nakuru town and one in Njoro where alcohol was sold to the underage youths. “The teenagers are victims of an irresponsible society. If people charged with ensuring there is compliance in alcohol regulations and traffic rules played their part, the deaths would not have occurred,” Mututho said during the funeral of Dominic Mwangi.

Kirathe has maintained that they were still investigating the accident to establish what action, if any, will be taken against the officer or any other person involved.

The funerals of two other teenagers are scheduled for tomorrow in Njoro and will coincide with interdenominational prayers organised by the county government to seek divine intervention following numerous accidents in Nakuru.