Tragedy was averted in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia state on Wednesday as eleven market women escaped death when a Mitsubishi L300 bus with registration number, Ebonyi XA 647 SKA they were travelling in was hit by a Mack truck with registration number, Bayelsa BRS 426 XB at the waterside bridge, Aba.
Eyewitnesses said the truck carrying gravel lost brakes and rammed into the bus parked at the roadside and spilled its content on the road while the bus conveying the women was carrying plantain, fruits and other vegetables.
A resident of Ogbor-Hill decried the indiscriminate parking of vehicles at the bridge, stressing motorists have always defied warning to stop loading at the scene. The situation led to the long traffic jam which stretched up to Ukaegbu junction in Ogbor Hill and Old Post Office on Industry road.
When our correspondent visited the scene, men of the police and Federal Road Safety Corps were seen directing traffic.
An FRSC official who didn’t want his name in print said that they were deployed to the scene to help in easing off traffic gridlock and to ensure that the truck was towed off the road.
Aba Area Commander of the police, Alhaji Rabiu Dayi who also spoke to newsmen attributed the cause of the accident to brake failure and inability of the driver to control his vehicle after the incident. He debunked reports that the accident was caused by police checkpoint mounted at the foot of the bridge.
“In recent times, we observed that most victims of kidnapping were smuggled out of Aba through Ogbor-Hill area. So, we decided to place our men there for stop and search operations. The stop and search operation is not being done at the middle of the bridge. It is done before the bridge.
“The bus stopped beside the bridge to pick or drop a passenger. I have warned motorists times not to load or passengers or the bridge. It is not true that the accident was caused by police officers.”
He disclosed that the truck driver has been arrested and has made statements to the police.