KNYSNA NEWS - A 22-year-old paramedic from Mossel Bay is accusing the Knysna police of misconduct after he was involved in an accident which left him paralysed in his arm, and is considering taking civil action. Daniel Donachie claims that the police failed to open a case of drunken driving against the other driver after the accident, which took place on the Uniondale road at Nekkies on 12 June, and accuses the two policemen who attended the scene of misconduct.
Facing an 'uncertain future'
The paramedic now has a paralysed left arm according to medical reports from specialists, in possession of the Knysna-Plett Herald. He says doctors told him his arm would "never be the same again" – and he now faces an uncertain future.
“I am considering civil action against the Knysna police,” he said during an interview this week, mildly agitated with what the "noncompliance with standard procedure" by the officers.
Donachie explained that on the day in question he was riding a motorbike on the Uniondale road, returning from work on a film set where medical assistance was required to be on standby on a Saturday.
Bakkie was 'in the wrong lane'
“As I was approaching a bend on the road I noticed an oncoming vehicle, a Nissan 1400 bakkie, in the wrong lane. He was swerving in front of me and eventually crashed into me. I was flung off my bike and landed several metres from the point of impact,” he said.
As a qualified paramedic, Danachie immediately assessed his injuries. He had no feeling in his left arm and parts of his lower leg were cut open to the bone.
“It was clear to everyone who was at the scene that the driver was drunk. Other paramedics confirmed it, eyewitnesses confirmed it, and a nurse at the hospital confirmed it. We have statements from all these parties,” he said, insisting that police are refusing to respond to this evidence.
'No response from police'
“The Knysna police failed to test the driver of the Nissan for alcohol, and there's no good reason why.”
Donachie said he has written to the police, to the station commander, to inform them about his experience.
“But we get no response,” he said. “It's almost useless.”
Donachie said all he wants is for the police officers to be reprimanded for not doing their job.
“I'm seriously injured, my future is now in the balance, all because of a drunk driver. The police must do their job and ensure roads are safer. Now the culprit is back on the streets and is a danger to the public.”
Investigation at 'advanced stage'
Responding to questions from the Knysna-Plett Herald, Knysna police spokesperson Sergeant Chris Spies confirmed that the police have opened a case of reckless and negligent driving against the driver. “Investigation into this matter is at an advanced stage and the investigation indicates that two drivers were involved in this accident. The case docket will be submitted to the National Prosecution Authority for a decision upon conclusion of this investigation. A statement still needs to be obtained from Mr Donachie regarding this incident and he is more than welcome to visit the investigation officer for any further information regarding this investigation,” Spies said.
The question why no case of drunken driving is being investigated was not addressed.
In response to the allegations that standard procedure was not followed, Spies said, “All the necessary information was obtained by the police officials who attended this scene. Allegations of misconduct by the members of the SAPS is of a serious nature as well as the threats of possible civil litigation against the service. The Knysna police will therefore only respond to these allegations and threats through the appropriate platform.”
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