Human negligence and speeding were to blame for the accident which led to the death of Top Billing presenter Simba Mhere and his friend, the Randburg Magistrate’s Court heard on Tuesday.
Johannesburg Metro Police Officer Vusi Khambule, who was the first officer to arrive at the scene, told the court that on the morning of January 31, Preshalin Naidoo’s car had been travelling at a high speed and had collided with two curve lines which caused one of his tyres to burst. This in turn caused him to lose control of his vehicle.
Naidoo faces two counts of culpable homicide for the death of Mhere and his friend Kady-Shay O’Bryan, as well as additional charges of negligent and/or reckless driving, and inconsiderate driving.
On Tuesday, two members of Mhere’s family were in court. Several members of Naidoo’s family were also present.
Khambule said that, based on his investigations, Naidoo had tried to swerve his car left towards the William Nicol offramp along the N1 South while driving at a very high speed.
“If he was driving at a reasonable speed he would have been able to turn into William Nicol,” Khambule said.
Khambule also told the court that, in the area where Naidoo had lost control, there had been two visible signs stipulating the speed limit was 60km/h.
He said there had been tyre marks on the road, which showed Naidoo had tried to swerve at a high speed.
“From my experience, I can say the vehicle was travelling quite fast, over 100[km/h]. From where it moved to where I found it, it must have been at a [high speed].”
The court also heard that Naidoo, who allegedly lost control of his vehicle, collided with two curve lines before flying over three lanes, an island, and then colliding with two cars travelling on the other side of the highway.
Mhere and O’Bryan died in the collision. Mhere’s father had also been inside the car, but survived.
Khambule told the court that the accident had taken place around 05:20 and that he had arrived on the scene around 07:15. The vehicle the three were travelling in had to be cut open to remove Mhere and O’Brady.
A family of four which was travelling in the third vehicle involved in the crash survived with minor injuries.
Mhere rose to fame when he won a presenter search competition in 2010, landing him a job on the lifestyle television programme.
The trial was adjourned to March 31 for Khambule to be cross-examined by Naidoo’s defence team.