An Orient Heights family is still in shock after an accident almost claimed their lives over the weekend.
The distraught family of six, who are still in recovery, are also questioning why the alleged drunk driver, who they claim was speeding and swerving from lane to lane, is not in police custody and why his vehicle was not impounded but rather towed away for repairs.
An emotional Nerissa Harribanse, whose family was involved in the accident, said everything police needed to trace the suspect could have been retrieved at the scene such as the licence plate number and licence disc details.
“This coward who hit into my family and then fled the scene should have been in police custody by now. Police have all the resources to trace the owner of the vehicle. So we are questioning why they have not? We are injured and traumatised. My three year-old talks about the accident everyday. My family will suffer from the after effects of the injuries for the rest of their lives,” said Harribanse.
Harribanse, who has vowed to get justice for her family, recounted the events of last Saturday night and how she came to hear of the news.
“I was admitted to the St Anne’s Hospital after suffering a seizure and blacking out. My family was driving on the slip road between the Old Greytown and Ohrtmann roads intersection at around 6:50pm to hospital to visit me. My husband, sister, three year-old daughter, mum and dad were in the car. Eyewitnesses who have contacted us said the driver who hit into our vehicle was swerving from lane to lane and driving at a high speed.
“They said he drove into oncoming traffic hitting right into my family. At around 7:20pm, when they had not arrived at the hospital, I started calling every member of my family on their cellphones and even our landline but got no answer. I started to panic and felt that something was wrong and assumed it was possibly a robbery at our home. When I dialled my sister’s cellphone again, I thought I dialled the wrong number because a man answered. I was then informed that it was the right number as the man identified himself as a paramedic who informed me of the accident,” said a distraught Harribanse.
She said she then became hysterical and had to be calmed by the nurses. Her husband, daughter, dad and mum where transported to St Anne’s Hospital while her sister was taken to Grey’s Hospital. Her daughter suffered a gash to her forehead causing a haematoma and internal bleeding behind her eyes, her husband has three fractured toes and a fractured foot, her dad received stitches to his knee and elbow and has bruised ribs, her mum has fractured ribs and her sister has a severe head and spinal injuries.
Harribanse is calling on the person responsible for almost wiping out her family to come forward.
“I beg you to come forward and hand yourself over to police. What you did was irresponsible, callous and cowardly. Do the right thing and face the consequences. If this was your family how would you feel?” she asked.
Harribanse is grateful to the off-duty police officer and her son who tried to assist, as well as Shadrack Ngubane, the cab driver who took photos and tried to assist the family.
“We thank everyone who stopped to help, those who have sent their love, support and prayers and the hospital staff who took such good care of everyone. I can’t put into words my gratitude to all these people.”
Mountain Rise SAPS spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim confirmed that a case of reckless and negligent driving was being investigated.