Bus driver’s tall tale doesn’t fool court
Tragic and fatal car accidents due to negligent behaviour are a sad everyday reality for South Africans, but a recent case took the cake when it came to the driver’s half-baked excuse for drunken driving.
Ephraim Mhlongo* was sitting and relaxing with friends under a tree when the driver of a commercial passenger bus lost control of his vehicle and ploughed into the group, killing three people and injuring several others.
A case of culpable homicide was laid against the driver, who was found to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. In court, the driver tried to lie his way out of trouble and came up with a colourful yet preposterous explanation for his intoxication: a couple of thugs had held a gun to his head on the bus, he insisted, and had forced him to drink copious amounts of gin before jumping off the bus and vanishing.
That, he maintained, was why he had been drunk at the time of the accident that robbed three families of their loved ones. The judge was having nothing of these creative fibs and wasted no time in convicting him.
Ephraim was fortunate enough to survive the accident, but sustained soft tissue and concussive head injuries, leading to a loss of productivity. De Broglio Attorneys subsequently took on his accident claim against the Road Accident Fund, and proceeded to obtain a R348 000 payout for him. Although the shock and trauma of the crash remain with him, this award will at least offer some compensation for his pain and suffering.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality
Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.