It’s been nearly a month since a car crash claimed both his legs and almost cost him his life too. And for Taufiq Carr, 26, the memories of the incident are still very vivid.
“All I see is myself driving, the car starting to wobble, hitting the barricade and then the thudding sound that came after,” Taufiq told YOU in the Cedar Ward of Cape Town’s Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital where he’s been recovering since the accident.
The 26-year-old businessman from Mitchell’s Plain made headlines last month when he crashed his BMW into a centre barrier on Sable Road, the off-ramp from the N1 at Century City.
Taufiq was competing in an illegal drag race when he lost control of the vehicle while changing lanes, causing the car to roll several times.
A video of the crash, taken from a bridge above the highway, went viral on social media. A second video later emerged, taken inside the car, which showed Taufiq had a passenger.
In the video recorded from the bridge, a man’s voice can be heard saying, “And again, and again, and again”.
When the second car closes in and the video starts shaking, the same voice says, “Hey!”
The recording continues as the crash takes place.
Today Taufiq tells us the man beside him was his friend Imraan Ebrahim.
Imraan escaped with only a scratch on his hand.
At first, it was difficult for Taufiq to understand why his injuries were so severe when his friend got off lightly, but he’s since made peace with it.
“I just accepted the fact that I’m like this. I made peace with the fact that this happened to me,” Taufiq says softly. “That is why my healing is going so well.”
If he could redo that horrifying Sunday evening he would, Taufiq says.
‘We do it for fun, for the passion’
It was shortly after 23:00 when he gathered with his friends from his drag racing club, Race Wars. The group is open to anyone with a car and a driver’s licence isn’t necessary.
“There’s no prize for winning a race. We do it for fun, for the passion,” he says.
Taufiq won his first race – a short stretch to get the night going. But it was during his second race, a longer stretch that runs outbound on the freeway, that he lost control of the vehicle.
“I felt the car shaking, so I decelerated and accelerated again. Then I went into the barrier.
“I looked down into a pool of blood. There was just blood gushing out of my legs, like a tap that was turned open. I took my legs and lifted it out of the car. I still tried to get out of the car, to lift myself, but my collarbone was popped out so that was sore.”
Taufiq used his BMW’s voice command feature to call the ambulance. “I told the car the ambulance must come now.”
Taufiq says he struggled to get his seatbelt off so Imraan helped him. He also remembers asking bystanders for water.
His body was in shock, so he couldn’t feel any pain in his lower body.
“When the paramedics came, they were cutting my clothes off my body and I told them I’m starting to see blue. I panicked and said, ‘I can’t see, I can’t see.’ Eventually I just passed out.”
His wife, Ameerah, 23, who’s six months pregnant, was at home sleeping when the accident happened. “One person phoned me but my phone was on silent,” she says.
A family member of Taufiq’s woke her to tell her what had happened and Ameerah says at first it didn’t sink in.
“I was in shock. When I go into shock, I go quiet, she says. “It was hard at first but because he’s so positive, it makes us stronger.”
The couple have two kids, Qiraam, 4, and Maryam, 2, who seem to have inherited their father’s positive spirit.
“The kids come to see him every day,” Ameerah says. “I never let them see him with all the pipes on his body, but they now lie by him.”
Taufiq’s legs were amputated the Monday after the accident, and he was kept in a medically-induced coma for four days.
‘I didn’t take in any of the negativity’
Even though people had a lot of negative things to say about the accident, Taufiq says he never paid attention to any of it.
“I understood their opinions, read all that stuff, but I didn’t take in any of the negativity. I just stayed positive. They didn’t really know what happened – I know what happened.”
Would he ever get behind the wheel to race again?
“Yes,” he answers without hesitation.
“I’ll drive again. I want to drive again. And when I race it won’t be illegal racing again. It’ll be legally, on a race track.”
He adds that he’s watched both videos and it doesn’t bother him.
“It’s just like, ‘Wow, I’ve been through that’,” he says.
“I’ve always been a positive person. What happened to me was meant to be, it was put out that way.”
Western Cape police confirmed that a case of reckless and negligent driving had been opened, and a probe was underway.