The driver of a matatu that collided with a lorry at Malili on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway, killing eight people, was avoiding running over a snake, one of the accident victims has revealed.
Ms Elizabeth Mwongeli, 28, told the Nation at Machakos Level 5 Hospital, where she was admitted, that just before the crash she heard the driver shout that he had seen a big snake.
“The driver was avoiding a snake,” Ms Mwongeli, who appeared traumatized and in pain, said.
“I heard him shout before he swerved and hit a lorry. I don’t know if the snake was hit.”
Speaking in the casualty ward as she waited for a plaster of Paris to be fitted on her leg, Ms Mwongeli, who was injured on the head and right knee, said she had gone barely two kilometres from her Salama home taking a sick child to Machakos Hospital.
Ms Mwongeli recalled seeing bodies on the road.
“I counted five bodies of those who had died on the spot,” Ms Mwongeli said.
The child was also admitted at the hospital.
Seven victims were admitted in the casualty ward and a child was at the intensive care unit.
In the casualty ward were Ms Christine Kitivo and Mr Daniel Kiasya. The couple, who were travelling from Kibwezi, had heavy bandages on the head and legs.
“I was asleep and when I woke up I realised I was injured. We were going to Nairobi to buy spare parts for my machines,” Ms Kitivo recounted.
Mr Onesmus Kiio, 23, a student at Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, sustained hip injuries and was due for surgery.
Mr Kiio, who said he boarded the matatu at Sultan Hamud, claimed to have heard other passengers caution the driver, who died in the accident, against driving carelessly but he retorted that he was experienced.
The 45-seater minibus, christened Jasho Dreams, shuttles between Nairobi and Kambu shopping centre in Makueni County.
The matatu driver was attempting to overtake another vehicle when the accident occurred, acting Kilungu divisional police boss Zacharia Bitok told the Nation on phone.
Mr Bitok said the eight died on the spot and 10 others sustained serious injuries and were taken to hospitals in Machakos and Makueni counties.
The bus conductor, Mr Justus Musembi, who was being treated for deep cuts on the right leg at Mukaa Hospital, Makueni, however said the lorry was speeding and it swerved into the matatu’s lane.
“It smashed the cabin on the driver’s side and killed or badly injured passengers in the first three rows of seats behind the driver,” Mr Musembi said.
The lorry crew were unhurt.