By RABECCA CHIPANTA –
A FRACAS erupted in Ndola’s business area yesterday after a young male vendor was killed by a vehicle which was being pursued by traffic police, causing an angry mob to beat up two police officers in retaliation.
The confusion ensued further with the mob burning tyres and throwing stones and barricading Makoli Road. The deceased vendor is believed to have been aged between 13 and 15.
According to eye witnesses, the incident happened around 10:30 hours after the traffic police officers gave chase to a Toyota Elgrand, registration number ACP 3927, which in the process hit the young trader, killing him instantly.
The witnesses said the driver of the bus, only identified as Mike, failed to negotiate a curve and dragged the teenager to a Zesco substation fence.
The owner of the vehicle, Sharpy Zulu, said while standing outside his shop the driver was coming from Reekays Mall trying to join Makoli Avenue when the traffic officers blocked him and, in trying to evade them, he drove towards the slave tree, where three officers gave chase.
Close to an hour after the incident, a police van was seen heading towards the scene in an attempt to retrieve the body, but the irate mob threw stones and other objects, forcing the police officers to retreat, only to return with enforcement, armed with tear gas canisters, which were fired to disperse the unruly crowd, so that the body could be picked.
The riotous behaviour spread to other parts of town, destabilising business and forcing many shop owners to close their shops.
Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga said the accident happened after the driver of the Toyota Elgrand, identified as Mike, a car washer, was returning the vehicle after cleaning it.
Ms Katanga said Mike, who was accompanied by his colleague identified as Benson Lunda of Chipulukusu was speeding and failed to negotiate a curve and, in the process, hit the deceased who suffered a ripped stomach and fractured legs and died on the spot.
“A lady went to have a vehicle washed at the car wash at Chisokone Market near Makoli where Mike, who works there as a car-washer took advantage and drove the car away accompanied by his colleague. They drove the motor vehicle away at excessive speed and failed to negotiate a curve and, as a result, hit into a pedestrian. For fear of traffic officers he bolted. The police apprehended Lunda while Mike is still at large,” Ms Katanga said.
She said when apprehended, Mike would be charged with causing death by dangerous driving as well as conversion amounting to theft as that was a stolen vehicle.