Driver arrested after fatal crash
An advertising agency director has been arrested for drunk driving after a horrific crash that left one teenager dead and another critically injured.
The two 18-year-olds – a matric pupil and a PE College student – were riding to the Port Elizabeth beachfront on a motorbike when it smashed into the Land Rover Discovery driven by Boomtown creative director Ross Ventress, 45.
DF Malherbe High School matric pupil Paul Manyadzwa, who was a passenger on the motorbike, was flung about 40m from the point of the impact on the corner of Heugh Road and 6th Avenue, Walmer, landing in the 6th Avenue Shopping Centre carpark.
He died shortly afterwards.
PE College student Warren Swart, who turns 19 on Wednesday, sustained serious injuries, including an almost severed leg and collapsed lung, and is in the intensive care unit at Livingstone Hospital.
Ventress was arrested for drunk driving, culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving.
He was held for about eight hours and then released on R1 000 bail. He is due to appear in court on June 18.
The accident happened shortly before midnight on Friday.
One of the first people on the scene was Leandra Pickard, the daughter of slain Summerstrand couple Lydia and Andre Saaiman, who were attacked in a house robbery last year.
Pickard was on her way home, after holding a remembrance ceremony at the beachfront to celebrate what would have been her mother’s 70th birthday, when she came across the accident.
“We parked close to where Paul was lying and I went to see him first,” she said.
“He had lost a lot of blood and seemed unconscious. I then ran to have a look at Warren.
“There were no paramedics yet so I stayed with them until they arrived.
“He [Warren] was struggling to breathe and his foot was mangled.
“He repeatedly asked me how Paul was doing.
“I told him people were assisting Paul.
“When the paramedics arrived, I spoke to the police. Then I went to check on the [occupants] of the Land Rover.”
Pickard said she saw Ventress a few minutes later walk across the road to a shop, where he bought himself a chocolate and a Coke.
“At this stage, Warren’s parents arrived,” she said.
“They were both in shock, telling their son they loved him and he must concentrate on himself now and getting better.
“I got very emotional and left.
“I hope the person responsible gets jailed for this.”
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said preliminary investigations showed that Ventress had been travelling from the South End direction while the two youngsters were coming from the direction of 7th Avenue, Walmer.
“The collision happened at the 6th Avenue and Heugh Road intersection,” she said.
“The driver of the Land Rover was turning right into 6th Avenue from Heugh Road while the motorbike was travelling towards the beachfront.
“Blood was drawn from the [Land Rover] driver and will now be sent to our Cape Town laboratory for testing,” she said.
“This takes several months, which is why the court appearance will be in June.”
Gardmed Ambulance Service owner Dave Gardner said multiple attempts to resuscitate Paul at the scene had failed.
Warren’s aunt, Kelly-Ann Stander, 35, who was at the crash site, said they were devastated.
“Paul was part of our family. He and Warren have been best friends since Grade 2. They did almost everything together.
“They were basically brothers.
“The two lived close to each other in the Mount Pleasant area while growing up,” she said.
“Everyone is shattered by this. “Warren underwent surgery on Saturday and the doctors managed to reattach his leg.”
Warren was in a stable condition yesterday.
Stander said the two friends had been on their way to the beachfront.
“Paul turned 18 in December and Warren missed his birthday as it was the holidays.
“So to make it up to Paul, Warren was taking him to the beachfront.
“They left the house at about 11.30pm, so the accident happened at around midnight.
“After the collision, Warren managed to phone his mother with the assistance of a passer-by who had stopped to help.
“After getting the call, everyone rushed down to the scene.
“Paul was unconscious and medical staff spent more than 20 minutes on the scene doing CPR.
“When I arrived, the [Land Rover] driver had already been arrested.”
A friend of the Manyadzwa family said they were still too traumatised to comment.
DF Malherbe posted a condolence message on their social media page on Saturday, saying Paul would have been in matric this year.
Boomtown managing director Andrew Mackenzie said yesterday he was aware of the accident, but declined to comment, saying it was an after-hours incident.
Numerous attempts to contact Ventress were unsuccessful. He also failed to respond to voice messages left on his cellphone.