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South African cab driver reportedly escapes road rage charges

March 7, 2012 | 11:18 am

 

REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- It's Thursday evening in the South African city of Bloemfontein. Two men stand idly chatting in front of a gas station on Andries Bekker Street. A man wearing a hat and a tracksuit wanders across the road, right into the path of an oncoming commuter minibus.

But the pedestrian is lucky. The driver brakes, the vehicle barely brushes him and he keeps on walking. Seconds later, however, the driver swerves and accelerates, striking the man and throwing him to the ground. The pedestrian's foot is caught under the front end of the minibus.

As he lolls, dazed, on the sidewalk, the two onlookers continue to stand by. The minibus draws slowly away, hazard lights flashing. Then stops.

As the pedestrian struggles slowly to his feet, the driver gets out and kicks him in the face. The victim collapses again to the sidewalk. And still the two bystanders do nothing.

The road rage incident, captured on CCTV, sent the victim in the hospital, though the extent of his injures were not immediately reported. It also led to assault charges against the driver, who appeared in a Bloemfontein court Monday. And it triggered criticism of the witnesses who stood by as the assault unfolded.

But the defendant escaped prosecution, despite the witnesses and the CCTV footage, the South African daily The Star reported Wednesday. The newspaper cited police spokesman Zweli Mohobeleli saying the charges had been dropped because police lacked sufficient evidence to pin the crime on the defendant.

Mohobeleli said it was possible the case might be reopened later.

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-- Robyn Dixon

Video: CCTV footage posted on YouTube 

 

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