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Seven killed as speeding lorry ploughs into crowd

By John Shilitsa | August 25th 2020

A damaged trailer that lost control after hitting a matatu leading to deaths of seven people with many others sustaining injuries at Kaburengu area along Kakamega-Webuye road. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Esther Khavakali wept uncontrollably after her husband died in a road accident at Kaburengu along the Eldoret–Bungoma highway.

Geoffrey Kubasali was among seven people killed when a lorry lost controlled and ploughed into a crowd at the black spot yesterday.

Kubasali, his family’s sole breadwinner works as a tout. He’d left home early in the morning, for Kaburengu bus stop, about 200 meters away. He’d promised his wife he will return with a packet or two of milk.

What Khavakali, 35, did not know was that this would be the last conversation she would have with her husband.

“He left home around 8am. And it would turn out to be the last time we spoke,” a distraught Khavakali told The Standard.

Relaxing at home

While relaxing at home in the company of a relative around 4.30pm, they heard a loud bang.

“The bang was loud. We rushed to the road to see what was happening. I was shocked when I was informed my husband had been killed by a speeding lorry,” she said. 

The other victims were women selling their wares by the roadside.

“I saw bodies of the women strewn all over together with the tomatoes, onions and the other things they were selling,” Khavakali said.

“I didn’t see the body of my husband as the police said they had already put it in the vehicle which later headed to the Webuye Hospital mortuary,” she said.

She added: “We had been married for ten years but didn’t have children although he had three children from an earlier marriage. One of the children had completed Form Four,” Khavakali said.

The victims included a teenage girl who was selling fries.

“The girl completed her secondary education last year and lived with her mother at Matete trading centre. She was frying the chips when the accident occurred,” said Abule Shikuku, a witness.

Shikuku said the ill-fated lorry first rammed an Eldoret-bound bus before veering off the road and crashing the women together with the man.

People screaming

“We first heard people screaming then we saw the lorry moving at very high speed. It first crashed three women and knocked down the rest as they attempted to run. The girl died while her mother survived after falling into a nearby ditch,” said Shikuku.

A woman, identified as Evelyn Wekesa, who is a mother of six, died on the spot. “She attempted to run but it was too little too late,” said another witness.

Kakamega County Deputy Traffic Police Commander James Ng’etich said: “The driver lost control of the vehicle which was coming from Eldoret, hit a bus, ran over the women before landing on the opposite side of the road.”

Ng’etich said the driver of the vehicle, who was not immediately identified, was among the 14 people who suffered severe injuries. He is admitted to Webuye sub-county hospital.

The officer warned residents against selling their wares along the road.

“This is not the first time we are witnessing this kind of an accident. I urge residents to do their businesses from safer places,” Ng’etich said.

However, residents want the government to redesign the road and have lorries use a different route.

“We have witnessed so many accidents at the black spot this month. We would like to see the lorries use another road,” said Shikuku.

Send condolences

Lugari MP Ayub Savula, in whose constituency the road falls, send condolences to families of victims.

This portion of the road, which is steep, has continued to kill people over the years and residents are unhappy with the seeming lack of concern by authorities.

Traders who sell their goods by the roadside are normally the main victims. Speed bumps and traffic signages have done little to end the accidents.

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