THE driver of the tour bus involved in an accident during which two Grade 7 learners from the Windhoek Gymnasium died tragically earlier on Sunday morning was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless and negligent driving as well as culpable homicide.
The arrest of the driver and the charges against him were confirmed by Deputy Commissioner Eric Clay, the Hardap Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator.
“The driver was tested on the scene of the accident and was placed under arrest after he tested positive for excessive alcohol. A blood sample for more thorough forensic testing was taken as well,” Deputy Commissioner Clay said.
He indicated that the case of driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance, reckless and negligent driving and culpable homicide was registered in Mariental. He said the suspect is currently held in the Mariental Police Station’s holding cells.
Members of the emergency services who pulled the bus back onto its wheels to rescue some of the children still trapped in the bus found empty liquor bottles under the driver’s seat.
It is suspected that the driver in his intoxicated state fell asleep at the wheel and that he lost control over the vehicle. As a result the bus swerved from one side of the B1 Road to other before running off the left side and overturning.
In the meantime parents of the children that sustained less serious injuries during the tragic bus accident on Sunday morning rushed to Mariental to be with their children in hospital while they receive emergency medical care.
Eleven of the more seriously injured children were transported to the Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek where they have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.
In the meantime first responders and members of the emergency services have started to clear the accident scene.
The learners from the private school in Windhoek were on their way to the Orange River where they would have spent the week rowing on the river. The group of 122 learners and teachers were travelling in two buses that were chartered from Sunshine Tours.
Only one of the buses was involved in the accident. All the uninjured children and teachers were taken back to Windhoek after the tour to the river on Namibia’s southern border was cancelled.
Deputy Commissioner Clay said the driver of the ill fated bus will make his first appearance in the Mariental Magistrate’s Court later this week, He indicated that names of the deceased Grade 7 learners will be made public at a later stage.