Drag racer hits crowd
Pretoria - An illegal drag race in Pretoria's notorious Voortrekker Road caused at least five people to be admitted to hospital on Sunday night. Two were in a serious condition.
The driver of a dark blue VW Golf apparently lost control of his vehicle and ploughed into a group of spectators on the pavement at around 19:15.
Injured people lay scattered across the road and pavement at the accident scene, at the entrance to Casbha Road House in Voortrekker Road, between Ben Swart and Booysens Road.
Ruan Vermaak, spokesperson of Life Med, said the emergency service had taken five people to nearby hospitals.
"One of the injured was a deaf guy. He just got up and tried to walk away but we helped him."
Injured people fled
Another witness said he had seen people "limp and get up, go to their cars and drive off" after the accident.
The other suspected racer, who was driving a dark Nissan Skyline and who was also involved in the accident, sped away from the scene.
One witness said the Nissan had "brushed" the Golf when other cars tried to drive into the entrance at the Casbha. The driver of the Golf then apparently lost control of the vehicle and hit the spectators.
None of the spectators who talked to reporters were willing to give their names. "I'm in the army and I want to keep flying. I don't want to cause kak in this country. I'm scared of being implicated," said one spectator.
Another witness said everything had happened very quickly.
"When we saw the cars, it was almost too late already."
This witness said he managed just to get his two young daughters out of the way of the oncoming Golf in time. "And then I just saw people flying."
Several curious bystanders remained on the scene long after the accident. Police officers on the scene wouldn't comment about the incident except to say that no one had been arrested.
The spokesperson of the Tshwane metro council's security services was unavailable for comment on Sunday evening due to illness.
Tshwane-Beeld recently reported that frustrated residents frequently complained about the races, which for several years had been held on Sunday evenings.
About two months ago, police clamped down on illegal racers and spectators before planned races could begin, as part of Operation Bamba Zonke. But the drag racers were back again the next week.
"This problem won't change overnight; the next Sunday (after Bamba Zonke) we again received complaints," Inspector Wanda Olivier of the Wonderboompoort police station told Celinda Groenewald.
A total of 16 fines to the tune of R10 750 were issued. Six people were held for reckless and negligent driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, consuming alcohol in public, possession of an illegal substance and two for being drunk in public.
Olivier said at the time that the drag racers made so much money from race betting that the fines and repairs to their cars didn't scare them off.
TREV - 2009-07-27 11:17
Impound the cars of people caught racing...very simple and sure way of forcing these twats to goto Illegal2Legal drag racing events...and do their stuff on a track...
Simon - 2009-07-27 11:40
These drag-racers are just cowards. There are more than enough forms of motor-sport in SA for people with a genuine interest to get involved in. Races are conducted at world-class facilities with top-rate medical staff on stand-by. The down-side is that drivers need to compete with other drivers in an environment of similarly powered cars, etc.
This means that the under-endowed fools who want to drag-race would probably get their a**es kicked again and again in a fair drive. This is why they want to drag race on public streets.
Bob - 2009-07-27 12:15
Pure Carelessness!!! "This witness said he managed just to get his two young daughters out of the way of the oncoming Golf in time. "And then I just saw people flying." " <-- What kind of parent takes their young daughters to an illegal drag racing event to spectate... let alone participate. There are legal track meetings for these types of things, I wish more people would start attending them and get these idiots off of the streets, they are a risk to themselves and clearly others as well...
Concerned - 2009-07-27 12:31
I cannot believe that people take children to these illegal racing events, that in my books is ilegal on its own, further can I not understand why a special venue have not been arranged for street racing events, this way it will be controlled and people can pay to see these events which could cover the venue as well as have an ambulance on standby for accidents.
Clinton - 2009-07-27 13:03
Obviously these people have too much money to spend so surely the answer is exorbatant fines and / or impunding their cars to be scrapped. and if they give the crap argument its their right to own a car for work then then counter it with the responsibility to drive safely for the benefit of you, passengers and other road users. But typical SA mentatlity, me me me !.
Nicholas Cave - 2009-07-27 13:17
I used to go to illegal racing in Jo'Burg years ago and surpisingly, there weren't any accidents when I was there. But it could so easily have happened!That said, it was fun..
Taking kids to such a race is insane.
Annette Lackey - 2009-07-27 13:28
The saying goes "Brandewyn het nie brieke nie!!!
Sol - 2009-07-27 13:44
There is a solution, they drag race due to showing off to spectators. Fine the spectators and they will not return, illegal public gathering.
no spectators = no one hurt and very little racing, therefore easier to manage and catch the racers.
Dirk - 2009-07-27 13:44
Can anyone say "SPEEDBUMPS"
RC - 2009-07-27 13:50
They should all bugger off back to Durban...they will fit in nicely there.
Zero Tolerance - 2009-07-27 13:54
All participants, whether the drag car owners, drivers, punters, or spectators, are all equally to blame. Enforce all the laws pertinent to these illegal gatherings, over and above the Road Traffic Act, i.e. "throw the book" (including the Child Protection Act) at all who actively or passively participate and impose the most stingent fines and penalties allowed by law. Make it absolutely "counter productive" to participate.
Martin - 2009-07-27 14:58
There was once such an organized track and event every wed night at wesbank raceway, but the art of capatilism has taken over and the premises closed for some or other development. Wesbank saw the threat in this racing and had it under control for a bit. I think this is bad news, as most of these drag racing cars are not even road worthy
daveh - 2009-07-27 21:10
These guys have ROCKS for brains !!!
TopGearFan - 2009-07-28 08:45
I have to agree with Simon as someone who raced at ODI, Wesbank(no longer around) and Smiles in Bronkies there are cowards and races who call you a coward because you don't want to race them on the street. Come to the track you idiots and try your luck
DAVID BAYNE - 2009-07-29 07:23
idiots. throw them all in jail and take there licences away.
Gerhard - 2009-07-29 13:14
It is very easy to blame these people and call names but were do they go?
Wesbank was closed down, Rainbow was closed down there is no place to race any more in the East Rand. So we take it to the streets and that’s were it all started. Places like ODI Tarlton and Midvaal are all very far away and don’t have regular racing every week and sometimes the entrance fee is ridiculous’s. I will take a bet that everyone that replied here doesn’t even have a interest in cars but it is easy to judge from your living rooms calling people cowards. If you have ever been to these races you will see that the guys challenge guys more or less in there own class. Nobody gets quote” drag-race would probably get their a**es kicked again and again in a fair drive."