Detectives retrace Kiptum's final moments

Kiptum went to three restaurants before the tragic road crash at 11 pm.

Forensic experts from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) traced the last moments of late marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum, hours before Tuesday's autopsy.

It emerged that Kiptum went to three restaurants moments before the tragic road crash at 11pm on February 11.

A team of top DCI detectives from Nairobi, led by Director of Homicide Martin Nyuguto, visited the places as they pieced together the final movements of Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana, who also perished in the accident.

Sharon Chepkurui, 24, who was in the company of Kiptum and Hakizimana, was the sole survivor of the accident.

A senior police officer said the probe follows calls for investigation into the accident by Kiptum’s father, Samson Cheruiyot.

Four men who visited Kiptum’s father and wife Asenette four days before the marathoner died were questioned last Tuesday. The men told the police that their visit had been a business one, related to his athletics career.

The investigations revealed Kiptum visited Talex Inn Restaurant Pub and Car Wash along Iten-Eldoret road, The Well Irish Pub and Restaurant at Rupa Mall and The Grand Miarmir Guest House in Annex off the Eldoret-Nairobi highway.

At Grand Miarmir Guest House, The Standard established that Kiptum’s Toyota Premio car KDL 566F, arrived at 9:12pm and left at 10:25pm.

Workers at the guest house said Kiptum, his coach and Chepkurui  took dinner at their restaurant before leaving in the ill-fated car.

After leaving The Grand Miarmir Guest House located on the outskirts of Eldoret, the trio drove towards the athlete’s training base in Chepkorio, Elgeyo Marakwet, but the accident happened at Flax junction, about 36 kilometres away from the last entertainment joint.

There had been questions about Kiptum’s movements between 9pm and 11:15 pm when the road accident happened.

Preliminary investigations had indicated that Kiptum’s car hit a tree after veering off the road at high speed.

Jeremy Kipkorir, a supervisor at The Wells Irish Restaurant, said Kiptum, Hakizimana and a woman arrived at around 6:36pm and left at 8:58pm.

Director of Grand Miarmir Elphas Sitienei confirmed that Kiptum, coach and Chepkurui checked in at the time recorded at the restaurant’s entrance. Sitienei said Kiptum and the duo spent their time at VIP lounge.

“Kiptum ordered meat and boiled bananas, which was his favourite. He was accompanied by a man and a woman. The late athlete paid the bills through mobile money transfer at 10:16pm,” Sitienei said.

Details of Kiptum’s last moments at Talex Inn, where the athlete stayed on Sunday afternoon, remained unclear.

Last week, an inspection report by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), which was forwarded to the police, indicated no pre-accident defects were noted in the vehicle.

According to Peter Mulinge, the Elgeyo Marakwet County police commander, the Toyota Premio car involved in the 11pm accident had no mechanical defects before the day of the accident. The police report showed the vehicle was at high speed, at the time of the accident.

Further, the engine was intact after the accident, except the roof and other parts that came into contact with a wall and tree.

The scene of the accident was not foggy on the ill-fated day, NTSA inspectors noted in the report.

By yesterday, the tree Kiptum’s vehicle hit had flowers placed at the base. It also had a handwritten wooden poster emblazoned ‘Kiptum Road’.