Taxi driver rams into man complaining about reckless driving

11 March 2019 - 06:12 By Katharine Child
Beyers Serfontein (left) and his uncle Leon Botha, taken a few hours before Serfontein was hit by a taxi.
Beyers Serfontein (left) and his uncle Leon Botha, taken a few hours before Serfontein was hit by a taxi.
Image: Supplied

Beyers Serfontein, a 45-year-old engineer, is fighting for his life in a Pretoria hospital after being hit by the driver of an online taxi hailing service, his family said.

Both the police and Uber have confirmed it is aware of the trip and that the incident is being investigated.

Serfontein's uncle, Leon Botha, said Beyers and his fiancée Linda Bennett had visited him in Centurion on Saturday night to watch rugby and eat dinner.  

Botha said the couple ordered an Uber taxi to pick them up around 2am.

"I walked down to where the car was waiting for them. I spoke to the driver and he seemed fine.”

But about 2km further, Serfontein asked the driver to stop and drop them off after accusing him of driving recklessly.

"They wanted to call another Uber," said Botha, relaying what Bennett had told him.

Beyers and Bennett got out of the car on John Vorster Drive in Centurion, between Pretoria and Midrand in Gauteng. Serfontein asked the driver to open the boot so he could retrieve his cooler box. Instead, the driver sped off and Serfontein ran after the taxi. 

His brother, Johann Serfontein, said the driver made a U-turn, hitting his brother.

The driver allegedly fled the scene as Bennett called the police.

Serfontein broke his ribs, arm and leg. 

"He is in very bad shape. He has fractures in his skull and a problem with his eye. The brain swelling is a major concern. Doctors say they can’t yet assess the scale of his head injuries," said Botha.

Police spokesperson captain Anton Breedt confirmed the incident, saying "a preliminary investigation" was under way. 

“The victim allegedly demanded the driver to stop and let them get out of the vehicle.  Later, the driver allegedly turned and ran into the victim. We can confirm it was a taxi, but cannot confirm if it was an Uber at this stage. We are investigating a charge of reckless and negligent driving. No arrests have been made," said Breedt.

Uber said in a statement on Sunday night: "What’s been described ... is deeply upsetting. Our hearts and thoughts are with the rider and the family impacted by this incident. In any case of this nature, we immediately remove a driver's access to the app while we investigate and work with the local authorities to fully support their investigation."

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