Durban – A Durban man was robbed after he died in a car accident at the weekend.
Prathish Choudhree, 46, was still seated in his overturned car when thieves, allegedly informal residents, descended on the vehicle and stole items including his cellphone.
Choudhree was driving on Higginson Highway towards the N2 in his Toyota Etios when it veered off the road and landed on its roof in the median near the Link Road off-ramp at 7.30pm on Saturday.
A Chatsworth businessman, who would not be named, was at the crash site soon after the accident and claimed that about 20 people emerged from a nearby informal settlement.
“We watched them push the car back on to its wheels. While we waited for the police to arrive, they began looting the car. The police’s attitude was ‘What can we do and who are we going to catch?’”
The businessman said a VW Polo overturned last week in the same area. A tow truck driver, who would not be named, said his vehicle was pelted with rocks when he went to investigate.
In July 2018, two men from Welbedacht East were robbed after their vehicle crashed in the same area.
The Havenside Community Forum reported on the Moorton Alliance WhatsApp group that motorists travelling along Link Road were allegedly stoned yesterday morning.
“This area is now considered a red zone and it would be preferable to avoid it. Should anyone be involved in an accident, please alert us in the group chat. Medical, security and police assistance is just a message away,” the forum stated.
Shallcross Crime Forum spokesperson Mahendra Lillkan advised the public to report stone-throwing or rocks on the road to the police and to get a reference number. He also advised people to verify messages before sharing on social media.
“These incidents occur late at night and in the early hours of the morning. Motorists should be vigilant and drive at a reduced speed during these times. Police have been notified. The patrols are based on crime statistics and reports,” he said.
Choudhree’s sister, Nirvana, said the family was heartbroken and had questions surrounding the crash after hearing the allegations of looting.
They expect to get the post mortem results today.
Choudhree had dropped off a friend in Chatsworth and was returning home to Isipingo at the time of the crash. Unmarried and living with his mother, he was a driver for a local pharmacy.
“The police called to inform my mom that the driver of the car was dead. Family rushed to the scene. We thought perhaps he had knocked over a pedestrian or he had been hijacked and the car crashed.
“My uncle identified himself to the police and pleaded with them to let us verify who the dead person was. I still had hope that it was not my brother.
“Many of his possessions, including his phone, are missing. I only spoke to my mother and brother from a distance outside the house. We both have medical conditions and did not want to compromise anyone’s health. On Friday, we shared a slice of cake at home. That was the last time I saw him.”
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the incident was being investigated. Chatsworth SAPS was investigating a case of culpable homicide.