Family, church mourn family of five killed in car accident

Pastor Collins Owino [3rd from right] of New Jerusalem Church prays at Eric Omondi's residence in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Erick Otieno who perished with his wife and their three children in a car crash at Samburu area on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway had literally planned to kill two birds with one stone.

Otieno had planned to attend his kin's burial in Nyakach and later take his children to greet his mother. It is said he was excited that three children were going to meet their grandmother.

But he also planned to be back on Thursday in time to take his two girls - Mary,7, and Judith,5, to school on Monday. Mary was in Grade One at Due-Luck Academy and Judith in PP1 at St Stephen's Academy.

Otieno's wife, Esther, and the three children including six-month-old Biden perished in the accident. His first wife Beatrice, his two sisters Beril and Eunice, and a friend identified as Ochieng, survived.

All the nine were traveling in a private car that was involved in a head-on collision with an oil tanker at Samburu area in Kilifi County.

Otieno, 31, a mechanic by profession, was the driver of the ill-fated car. He lived at  Mwagosi estate in Changamwe, Mombasa.

Yesterday, a somber mood engulfed the family home in Mwagosi, with church members taking turns to console the family and relatives.

"We are gathered here to mourn the painful death of our brother Eric and his young family. We pray God to intercede and give all of us comfort and courage to pursue these very difficult moments," Pastor Collins Owino of the New Jerusalem Church where Eric worshipped with his family said.

Pastor Collins said that they had lost a very valuable member of the congregation who was devoted to the development of the church.

''Eric together with his entire family were active church members and always contributed to the development of the church whenever called upon to do so,'' he said.

Neighbours said that the family was polite and welcoming.

"We shall really miss them. They were outgoing and interacted well with a lot of people in this neighbourhood," Saumu Sudi, a neighbour, said.

The church's development committee chairman Jared Okoth said the family had undergone very painful deaths.

''Before they embarked on the trip to Nyakach where they were to attend a funeral for a relative, the first wife, Beatrice who was slightly injured and survived the crash, requested prayers from the church congregation. We heeded her request and prayed for them. God had other plans,'' Okoth said.

A relative and close friend, Sospeter Otieno Odipo, said that he was to take the same vehicle and assist Eric to drive in turns.

''I missed the trip because I had other engagements at home and thus could not make it. When we got news of the accident I was completely shocked. I did not believe the information and only got to accept when I entered the morgue and saw bodies of the five lying lifeless,'' Odipo said. 

He said that as a family that was struggling to make ends meet, they are faced with huge tasks of having to foot medical bills and cater for costs of transporting the dead home for burial.

''We are faced with the huge task of ensuring that we transport five bodies home from Mombasa. It is never going to be easy and our humble appeal is for people of goodwill to come to our aid and offer assistance,'' Odipo said.

Another family member, William Okoth, said they transferred two of those who had been admitted at the Kinango Sub-district hospital to the Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH).

''Post mortem examination for the five who died will be conducted today (Monday) and we have plans to transfer the bodies to CPGH mortuary as we finalise plans for burial,'' Okoth said.