Gakuru’s driver failed to apply brakes, NTSA expert tells inquest


By JOSEPH WANGUI
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Former Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru’s driver failed to apply brakes to stop the vehicle from hitting a sharp guard rail along the Nyeri-Nairobi highway, a Sate witness told the ongoing inquest Monday.

Dennis Ireri, a motor vehicle expert from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), said Mr Samuel Kinyanjui was driving at a speed of over 120 kilometres per hour.

According to the expert, the driver accelerated through the guard rail, which tore through the Mercedes E250, entering through the front and exiting at the rear.

While testifying in an inquest into the circumstances leading to Dr Gakuru’s death, Mr Ireri said there were no skid marks at the accident scene.

The crash occurred on the morning of November 7, 2017 at Makenji, a few kilometres to Thika town.

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This, the witness said, means either the scene was interfered with or the driver did not apply the brakes after veering off the road.

On inspecting the car at Makuyu Police Station, Mr Ireri found the braking system intact, in good working condition and operational.

He added that the vehicle had no pre-accident defects.

“The road was wet and if the brakes were applied before ramming into the rails, there would have been skid marks on the road,” he said.

At the scene, the witness found three of the concrete posts that were holding the rail bent and at least five others flattened.

“The vehicle hit and bent the first three and flattened five more, indicating it was on high velocity, hence the extent of the damage,” Mr Ireri said.

Due to the impact, the front wheel was ripped off and the rim totally clashed while the tyre was shredded.

When Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Peter Mailanyi cross-examined the witness, he said the metallic rail pierced through the vehicle on the governor’s side for a distance of 60 metres.

However, the court was treated to contrast on whether the airbags on both sides of the vehicle deployed immediately on impact or later after the crash.

Previous witnesses told the inquest that the airbag on the governor’s side failed to deploy while that of his driver functioned.

But the motor vehicle expert said both airbags functioned, and that it was impossible for a person to deflate them after the crash.

The inquest heard that the airbags deflated towards the passengers.

Mr Mailanyi, together with the family’s lawyer Martha Weru, said according to the photos taken by the scenes of crime officer, the airbag on Mr Gakuru’s side failed to deploy.

The witness, while explaining why the airbag was not spotted in the photos, said the airbag could have been removed by the rescuers who removed Mr Gakuru from the wreckage.

At the same time, the court summoned two doctors from Thika Level Five Hospital who attended to the governor and his aides after the crash.

The summons was issued to Joseph Wanjohi and Loise Mathini.

Ms Mathini was an intern at the hospital while Dr Wanjohi headed the surgical department.

Mr Mailanyi indicated that Dr Wanjohi had been bonded to appear before the inquest on Monday but failed to show up.

The doctor instead sent his colleague, Dr Maina Wachira, who works in the hospital’s medical legal unit department, to testify on his behalf.

“Dr Wanjohi was bonded and he confirmed attendance but he has decided to delegate his testimony to Dr Maina who is not in a position to explain,” said Mr Mailanyi.

The inquest sittings will resume on October 3.


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