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.