Taxi driver appears in court following horror crash

The driver of the taxi involved in last week’s horrific Cape Flats level-crossing accident appeared briefly in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Jacob Humphreys (55), of Elsiesrivier, faces 10 counts of culpable homicide, although this may change.

Nine schoolchildren died when his taxi allegedly jumped a line of cars waiting at the Blackheath level crossing and was hit by an oncoming train. A 10th child died in hospital.

At the request of the prosecutor, magistrate Gerald Hattingh postponed the case to September 7 so that the state could gather bail information.

He ordered that Humphreys remain in custody.


The taxi driver was arrested on Sunday immediately after being discharged from hospital. He smiled at relatives in the public gallery as he entered court on Tuesday morning, waving to them and calling out “hello”.

Humphreys, wearing a blue tracksuit top, listened as prosecutor Quintin Appels told the magistrate that the 10 culpable homicide counts were what he faced “at this stage”.

A decision on the final charges and how many there would be would be made later and would depend on how the investigation proceeded.

Appels, who is attached to the Western Cape regional office of the National Prosecuting Authority, asked for a seven-day postponement so the state could get bail information.

“Certain information” the state applied for on Monday was not available yet, he said, and he was not in a position to address the court about bail.

High-profile case
Advocate William Fisher, who appeared for Humphreys, said he realised he could not object to the postponement.

However, because it was such a high-profile case, the state should by now have all the information it needed.

Fisher said he believed the real reason for the postponement was that the state wanted to decide whether to oppose bail.

He said that although Humphreys’s injuries from the crash had been “cared for”, his client was an asthma sufferer and would need pills and a pump in prison.

Hattingh said he did not have a high opinion of medical care in prisons, and it would be better if Humphreys’s family supplied him with the medication he needed.

“Because in jail it’s a hopeless situation,” he said.

Hattingh said he wanted to express his sympathy to the families of the dead children. “Not just as a magistrate, but as a parent.”

He himself had lost a 13-year-old child 24 years ago.

He also expressed sympathy for Humphreys, because of the position the taxi driver was in. “He also has family,” Hattingh said.

Humphreys was hurried out of the court by police after the hearing.

Many of the people in the public gallery appeared to be relatives of Humphreys. They declined to speak to media.

Although there was a heavy police and metro police presence in and around the court, there were no demonstrations. — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Ben Maclennan
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Vodacom swindled out of more than R24m worth of Apple...

A former employee allegedly ran an intricate scam to steal 8700 phones from the cellular giant

Come what may, the UIF will pay

The fund – the main safety net for unemployed workers – will run at an almost R20-billion deficit

More top stories

We will find resources to ensure the Zondo commission completes...

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says his department will ensure the state capture commission is afforded the financial resources to complete its work, despite the treasury’s uncertainty

Covid-19 variant may protect people against reinfection and other variants,...

The 501Y.V2 strain produces strong antibodies, but it’s not known how long immunity lasts, so being vaccinated remains essential

Tobacco industry calls Dlamini-Zuma’s bid to appeal ban a...

The minister could spend the state’s money on fighting Covid-19 and cigarette cartels, tobacco manufacturers argue

Zondo commission: Glencore sold Optimum to portray me as a...

Former Eskom chief executive paints himself as the victim of a plot at the hands of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s former business associates
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…