Eyewitnesses heartbroken after seeing toddler tossed out of car on highway

20 November 2018 - 15:47 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Dashcam recording of a failed chase on the R21 in pursuit of the silver BMW driver who allegedly attempted to dump a toddler on the shoulder of the highway next to Boksburg.
Dashcam recording of a failed chase on the R21 in pursuit of the silver BMW driver who allegedly attempted to dump a toddler on the shoulder of the highway next to Boksburg.
Image: Marius Baas and Richard Potgieter

Dressed in a white dress and a pink headband, a helpless toddler screamed her lungs out after being thrown out of a silver-coloured BMW on the side of the R21 highway in Boksburg at the weekend, eyewitnesses say.

But although police say there is an investigation into the incident, a spokesperson does not believe there is a solid case to pursue.

Explaining what happened around 3.30pm on Saturday, eyewitness Adele Johnson was emotional. 

"I was driving on the highway and in front of me were a couple of cars and a silver BMW. As I drove past it, I saw it parking on the side of the road and slowed down.

"The driver got out and I thought he was throwing away rubbish - only to find that it was a baby that can’t have been more than a year old," she said.

Johnson said she and others stopped and rushed to check what was happening. When the driver of the BMW noticed them, he reversed his car to rush back and take the baby.

"She was crying her lungs out. The way she was thrown was just terrible. I am certain that she sustained some injuries. I would be amazed if she was not physically harmed,” Johnson said.   

He said his baby was vomiting. I told him he was lying
Witness Johan Breedt, who briefly caught up with the driver

She wasted no time in calling the police but unfortunately they arrived only hours later.

Another eyewitness, Johan Breedt, who was on his way to a local shopping centre, described the incident as "unfortunate". He gave chase.   

"When the driver realised that more people had parked to see what was happening, he reversed and a woman he was with grabbed the baby and quickly jumped onto the back seat.  

"The baby was not just crying but screaming. She was wearing a white dress and a pink or red headband," he said.

Breedt described how he chased after the car. At one stage, the driver opened his windows. 

"I asked him to stop but he refused. I asked what was happening and he said his baby was vomiting. I told him he was lying and that it was a crap story.

"I was angry. When I tried to ask the lady if she was okay, she was numb, she just stared at me. As I was asking more questions, he pulled off and made an illegal u-turn. That’s when I lost him,” Breedt said.

Breedt said he and the other motorists wanted the driver to account for his actions because they could tell something was wrong. 

"A part of me is glad I didn’t catch him because I don’t know what I would have done to him," he told TimesLIVE. "I do hope that someone catches him though." 

Police spokesperson sergeant Amia Kwenaitse confirmed the incident but said there was no case as yet. 

“If one is to open a case of child abuse, there must be proof that indeed the child was abused, medical reports for example. In this case there is no child [at hand] and the complainants do not have a registration of the vehicle nor a description of the [people],” she said. 

Kwenaitse said chances of catching the alleged perpetrator were slim. “At this point I doubt there will be a case, but an investigation is underway.”  

Another witness, Marius Baas, drove alongside Richard Potgieter who recorded a video using Baas's dashcam as they attempted to chase the vehicle. 

I was so angry. I cried. It was just terrible to see 
Richard Potgieter, eyewitness

Potgieter said he was devastated by the incident. “I was so angry. I cried. It was just terrible to see,” he said.   

Potgieter raised concerns about the safety and wellbeing of the child and hoped justice would be served. “No child deserves to go through this,” he added.

Kwenaitse said the dashcam footage chasing the fleeing car was itself not evidence enough to open a case regarding the child.  

“It could be anything really, it could be that the child was taken out to pee or something, so we can’t speculate and say it is abuse,” she told TimesLIVE.

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