Police looking for mystery hero

Published: May 9, 2007 | 6180th good news item since 2003

Police in South Africa are looking for a mystery man who they want to reward for being a good Samaritan. According to witnesses, the man leapt into action to help an off-duty police officer catch a hit-and-run driver.

The two strangers went on a car chase while unarmed on Monday night as they attempted to catch a suspect who knocked down a 12-year-old streetchild at the corner of West Street and Brickhill Road.

The drama unfolded at around 7.45pm. A few men who had just left a nightclub in the area began fighting.

“I just heard a commotion outside my flat,” Thulasizwe Zibula, an off-duty student constable for the Protection Security Services, told the Daily News on Tuesday. “I went to check what was happening downstairs and when I got there, I just saw a red Honda Ballade leaving the parking lot at high speed. I saw the vehicle running over the boy,” he recalled.

Zibula immediately went to one of the bystanders standing next to a vehicle. “I just showed him my appointment certificate and asked him to help me apprehend the suspect. I had nothing else on me – no firearm, no cellphone, nothing.”

The two men quickly jumped into the vehicle and chased the suspect’s car. “Along the way, I used the stranger’s cellphone to alert radio control. While still in pursuit, we spotted two police vehicles and stopped them for help,” he said.

They, too, followed in pursuit. The suspect came to a stop at a red robot at the corner of Argyle Road and Stanger Street. The constable jumped out of the car and raced towards to suspect’s car before ordering him to switch the engine off.

By that time, the other two police vans arrived. The suspect was questioned and taken back to the scene of the accident. He was arrested for reckless and negligent driving and for the hit-and-run accident. The suspect was taken to the Point police holding cells.

It was later established that the Kenyan suspect was out on bail for a malicious damage to property charge.

He is due to appear at the Durban magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

The injured child was taken to Addington Hospital. The boy sustained a fractured leg.

“The amount of courage by both men is astounding considering that they were strangers. Trying to nab a suspect without any weapon is kind of stupid, but really brave,” said provincial police spokesman Supt Muzi Mngomezulu yesterday.

Zibula said with the entire drama taking place, he forgot to take down the name of the bystander that helped him. The man mysteriously disappeared from the scene and police are now looking for him.

“His act of bravery needs to be acknowledged,” said Mngomezulu.

Published in Heroes
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