Tragedy struck on Sunday at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos State, after the driver of a Lexus sport utility vehicle, Gbeminiyi Odeniyi, rammed into a commercial bus.
While two persons died on the spot, two others reportedly died at the Lagos Island General Hospital, Marina, where they were taken to for treatment.
A total of 16 others, which included passengers of the commercial bus and Odeniyi, were severely injured.
It was learnt that some bus drivers mobilised to stage a protest against the management of the toll gate, but shelved the idea after realising the accident was caused by the driver of the vehicle, who was suspected to be drunk.
The General Manager of LASEMA, Adeshina Tiamiyu, said the agency received a distress call on the accident around 6.49am.
He explained that LASEMA mobilised other agencies to the scene, including policemen from the Maroko division, operatives of the Rapid Response Squad, officials of the State Environmental Monitoring Unit and Lagos State Ambulance Service.
According to Tiamiyu, investigation by the agency’s response team at the scene showed that the Lexus GX470, with the number plate, Lagos KJA 615 DF, was driving against traffic when it rammed into the commercial bus, with the number plate, KJA-615DF.
The commercial bus was reportedly coming from the Ajah area and had been cleared to pass the toll gate when the accident happened.
“A total of four fatalities were recorded, including three adult males and an adult female. Sixteen casualties with severe injuries were rescued, including four adult females and 12 adult males. The driver of the vehicle was taken to the Lagos Island General Hospital, Marina.
“Emergency and security operatives were involved in traffic management (to forestall the occurrence of a secondary accident), crowd control, medical care to casualties and moving of victims to the general hospital and the Trauma Centre at the toll gate for further treatment.
“The two victims who died at the scene were handed over to SEHMU, while the remaining two were later confirmed dead,” he added.
He said wreckage of the vehicles were handed over to officials of the toll gate, who moved them to the Maroko Police station.
The LASEMA boss advised motorists to drive with caution when on highways and abstain from taking alcoholc beverages before driving.
He added that motorists should also ensure that their vehicles were roadworthy before embarking on journeys to avoid unnecessary loss of lives
“This particular incident will be investigated by security operatives, while the state government will ensure prosecution of the culprit to serve as a deterrent to errant motorists,” he added.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lekki Concession Company, managers of the toll gate, Mohammad Hassan, who described the accident as unfortunate, claimed that hard drugs were found in Odeniyi’s vehicle.
“The danfo (commecial bus) had just paid its toll and was about to leave when one hopeless motorist took one way and hit it.
“When the police came and searched the SUV, they found different kinds of drugs, meaning the driver didn’t know what he was doing. I learnt two people died and others were injured,” he said.
Hassan added that colleagues of the bus driver, who saw the accident thought it was caused by workers at the toll gate and wanted to protest.
He noted that the firm called leaders of the transport workers to explain the situation, which made the drivers to drop the idea.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, said the police had a record of three deaths.
“Three bus passengers died on the spot, while 10 others, with varying degrees of injury, were rescued and taken to the Lagos Island and Gbagada general hospitals for treatment. The erring motorist is in a critical condition. Corpses have been deposited at the Lagos Island General Hospital’s morgue for autopsy, while the vehicles were recovered to the station for inspection,” he said in a text message.
While speaking with our correspondent on the telephone, Oti denied that the police found hard drugs in the vehicle, saying the driver was, however, discovered to be drunk.
In a related development, two sympathiers lost their lives along the Eko Bridge on Lagos Island, while trying to rescue the driver of a Honda CRV who had a lone crash on Sunday.
It was learnt that the sympathisers were bringing out the motorist when the driver of a Toyota Camry, identified as Ayorinde Ibitayo, ran over them.
Oti, who confirmed the accident, said the suspect was in custody.
“The Honda CRV, with the number plate, APP 304 DV, had an accident around 2.30am. As sympathisers were trying to rescue the victim out of his car, a Toyota Camry, without a number plate, driven by one Ayorinde Ibitayo, of Akinwunmi Street, Ifako, Lagos, ran into the sympathisers. Two of them were crushed,” he said.