Five people lost their lives when three vehicles including a police bakkie collided on the M1 South highway in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon.
Xolani Fihla, spokesperson for the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, said the accident occurred during rush hour at about 4.14pm between Corlett Drive and Athol Oakland near Melrose.
Traffic was stretching several kilometres as a result of the crash, and by 10pm emergency crews were still on the scene clearing debris from the highway that had been closed off to traffic.
Police and traffic officials pleaded with road users who normally use the highway to get home from work to find alternative routes to avoid spending hours stuck on the accident scene.
Three vehicles involved in crash
Fihla said three vehicles were involved in the incident including a Nissan NP300 SAPS [SA Police Service] bakkie, a Ford Ranger, and a Mercedes-Benz.
It had been reported that the driver of the bakkie allegedly lost control amid an alleged “road rage incident with a Mini Cooper travelling north on the M1”, according to paramedics who were at the scene.
Fihla said a police vehicle had six occupants, including prisoners, when the accident occurred.
“Five individuals died in the crash, namely a male driver and four passengers [a female and four males],” Fihla said.
One female passenger in the police vehicle, according to Fihla, sustained serious injuries.
Police officer among the dead
It is believed that among those who died is a police officer and four prisoners.
Fihla said a police vehicle was transporting the prisoners from court when the accident occurred.
All four occupants in the Ford Ranger, including two children, sustained serious injuries, Fihla said, noting that the driver of the Mercedes-Benz was the only occupant in the car and did not sustain any injuries.
The cause of the accident is subject to an investigation by the police.
It was not clear at the time of publishing which Correctional Services facility the prisoners were being taken to.
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