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Kiptum panicked and sped into a ditch, crash survivor tells police

National
 Sharon Kosgei told police Kelvin Kiptum panicked and sped into a ditch. [File, Standard]

The only survivor in the tragic crash that killed World Marathon record holder  Kelvin Kiptum has claimed she alerted the athlete immediately after the ill-fated car suddenly started veering off the road on Sunday.

According to police sources, Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei, 24, revealed that Kiptum was behind the wheel on the fateful night.

Chepkurui has avoided the media since Sunday night after narrowly surviving the tragic accident at 11:17 pm.

On Wednesday, she recorded a statement with police officers investigating the cause of the fatal road accident.

A police officer privy to the investigations said the sole survivor told the investigators that Kiptum lost control of the vehicle, which veered off the road.

“She told us that she saw the vehicle veering off and immediately shouted at him to return back to the road.

“After shouting, the vehicle accelerated far off the road, landing in the ditch before hitting a wall. That was the last thing she remembers,” the source said.

Initially, however, the car was said to have hit a tree after veering off the road. 

Another officer said the survivor was too traumatised to write a statement and could not be found on the phone since Monday morning.

“We went to the hospital on Monday morning, with a view of taking her statement but we were told she had been discharged. We tried locating her but we were not lucky because her phone was switched off. We had to track her through contacts and eventually, we found her father who helped,” the officer said.

He went on: “The father said the survivor did not want to speak to the press for personal reasons.”

According to the police officer, Chepkurui reported that she had been Kiptum’s friend since the beginning of January.

She also told the police that they watched an English Premier League together with Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizamana in Eldoret town.

“She also noted in her statement that they enjoyed a meal and were heading to Chepkorio where the athlete trains,” the officer said.

Chepkurui’s close friend who asked not to be named said that she was disturbed by the tragic loss of his friend Kiptum and his coach.

She also told investigators that Kiptum might have dozed off at the time of the accident.

By last evening, details about the survivor were still scanty, with her friend only indicating that she was from Metkei, Elgeyo Marakwet.

Kenneth Kimaiyo, a Chepkorio resident who pulled Chepkurui out of the wreckage. said: “She was crying for help. Kiptum had breathed his last but his coach died a few minutes later.”

A postmortem report indicated that the coach died of multiple injuries to the head.

The report also showed that the Rwandese had eaten a meal as confirmed by Chepkirui.

Elgeyo Marakwet County Police Commander Peter Mulinge confirmed that Chepkurui had given the police details on how the accident happened when she recorded her statement on Wednesday.

Mulinge said according to Chepkurui’s statement, Kiptum panicked after he discovered that he had veered off the road and accelerated the vehicle instead of braking, out of panic.

“We were able to record the statements of Sharon Kosgei. The investigation is still ongoing and once we are through, we will deliver our findings,” Mulinge said.

The commander added: “Sharon has indicated that before the accident, she alerted him that he had veered off but he was unable to control the vehicle.” 

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