Crash driver on special leave

Friends and family surround crash survivor Warren Swart’s hospital bed and pray with him before another surgery
Picture: Supplied

Decision on disciplinary action to be made after internal investigation

The Boomtown advertising agency staffer who was involved in a fatal collision between a car and motorcycle at the weekend has been placed on special leave.

In the Walmer crash, DF Malherbe High School pupil Paul Manyadzwa, 18, was killed while his best friend, Warren Swart, also 18, suffered multiple injuries, including a partially severed leg.

The driver of the car involved in the collision, Boomtown creative director Ross Ventress, 45, was arrested and later released on R1 000 bail.

In a brief statement yesterday, Boomtown managing director Andrew MacKenzie said internal processes were under way.

“We have spoken to Ross [Ventress] and he is on special leave. We are investigating the matter further as part of our internal processes,” he said.

“We have expressed our sympathy to the families of Paul Manyadzwa and Warren Swart relating to the recent tragic event.”

Asked if they had made contact with either of the families, MacKenzie said he had handwritten notes to the parents of both teenagers, which were due to be delivered yesterday.

Also if Ventress had taken leave voluntarily, MacKenzie said they had placed him on special leave from Monday.

“The length will be determined by the length of the internal process, but we have no intention [of] delaying the process and are taking advice accordingly from lawyers,” he said.

“Guided by our labour laws, our internal processes entail an investigation into the incident as a first step.

“Thereafter, a decision on whether disciplinary action is warranted [will be] made by management.”

MacKenzie said while Ventress’s title was creative director, he was not a board member but an employee.

Since the crash, Ventress has declined to give the police a sworn statement on the incident and has declined to comment to the media.

At 6pm today, DF Malherbe will hold a memorial service for Paul, who would have started matric today.

Warren, who turns 19 today, was moved from the ICU to Livingstone Hospital’s orthopaedic ward yesterday due to his condition improving.

Ventress is due to appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on June 18, when he is expected to be charged with drunk driving, culpable homicide, and reckless and negligent driving.

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