NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – The driver of the UmoInner bus that was on Wednesday morning rammed into by a train has plead, “not guilty,” to nine counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
Edward Githae Wanjau also denied charges of careless driving and blocking a railway line when brought before Senior Principal Magistrate Tom Okello on Thursday morning.
Okello however ordered that Wanjau remain remanded at the Railways Police Station for a further seven days as the police complete their investigations.
“Bus driver Edward Githae Wanjau arraigned in court. He was charged with causing deaths, and blocking railway. Remanded for 7 days,” the Inspector General of Police wrote on his Twitter handle.
Forty-three year old Wanjau has been in police custody since Wednesday when he drove onto the railway line at the Mutindwa market in a bid to beat the train but instead left 12 people dead and over 20 others injured.
“The driver is responsible for my being here. He’s the reason I can’t hold my baby girl,” one of the injured, Ada Ayako Amuko, told Capital FM News.
“I remember the officer at the junction tried flagging him down because he was driving on the wrong side and he just ignored him,” another casualty of the crash, Florence Nyukwaka, testified.
But despite this indictment both by the police and passengers on the ill-fated bus, UmoInner Sacco has come to the defence of their driver.
They have transferred blame to the police who they accuse of sleeping on the job, “The matter of fact is that UmoInner bus did not overlap or it was driven carelessly. The bus got stuck on the railway line while trying to cross…police shuld (sic) always stop the vehecles (sic) when the train is coming in advance,” the Sacco posted on what appears to be its Facebook page.
It is as yet unclear what consequences, if any, the Sacco itself will face for Wednesday’s accident with the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) having threatened to revoke the operator’s licence.
A threat that may have come a little too late with NTSA Chairman Lee Kinyanjui admitting they had received, “a thousand and one,” complaints about the operator prior to Wednesday’s accident.