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12.03.2004 Regional News

Driver arraigned for causing the death of 13 passengers

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Sekondi, March 12, GNA - Abraham Anim, a driver, was on Thursday appeared before a District Magistrates' court in Sekondi for allegedly causing the death of 13 passengers and injuring many others in a lorry accident.

Anim, charged with manslaughter and whose plea was not taken, was remanded and would re-appear on Thursday March 18. Police Sergeant Andam Okyere, prosecuting, told the court that on March 2 this year, Anim was driving a Mercedes Benz bus with 38 passengers on board from Agona Swedru to Takoradi. Sgt. Okyere said when the driver got to the Beposo toll bridge at about 1400 hours it was raining heavily.

The prosecutor said after crossing the bridge, Anim drove carelessly and the vehicle swerved from its lane and collided head-on with a Taysec Construction Company DAF Low Loader that was heading towards the opposite direction of the road.

He said 13 passengers died on the spot and many others sustained various degrees of injuries as a result of the crash. The court also sentenced Kwaku Yeboah, a 34-year-old worker of the National Oil Plantation Limited, to 12 months imprisonment in hard labour for stealing a fowl.

He was also jailed six months for causing damage and the sentences were to run concurrently. Yeboah pleaded guilty to both charges.

Sgt. Okyere told the court that the complainant, Vida Obinkyere was a small-scale poultry farmer at Ewusiejoe where the accused also lived. The prosecutor said Obinkyere realised that fowls were getting missing form her poultry farm and in the latest incident, 12 birds were stolen.

Sgt. Okyere said at about 1400 hours on March 3, Obinkyere heard the fowls making noise and when she rushed to the farm, she saw Yeboah strangling a bird.

Sgt. Okyere told the court that the accused ran away but was later apprehended by some people in the community the same day. The prosecutor said in the course of the arrest, a struggled ensured and Yeboah tore the shirt of Evans Badu-Blay.

During cross-examination, Yeboah told the court that he had been imprisoned for theft on two occasions.

Mr Seyram Tsatsu Yao Azumah, the Magistrate, said he took into account Yeboah's past criminal record and seriousness of the offence in passing judgement.

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