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Looters start fire
Looters start fire on N1

One man was killed and two others were seriously injured when the trucks they were travelling in were involved in a head-on collision on the N1, 15 km from Winburg, in the early hours of Tuesday morning (27/11).

It is alleged that one of the trucks was travelling from Verkeerdevlei towards Winburg, and the other was travelling from Winburg, heading in the opposite direction.

One of the truck drivers (42) was certified dead at the scene. The driver of the other truck and a passenger were seriously injured and transported to hospital.

One of the trucks was transporting new tyres, while the other was transporting fresh produce.

A criminal element intent on looting set the veld alongside the N1 on fire when the police allegedly stopped them from looting the accident scene.

Within minutes, the flames spread across the N1 and the thick smoke brought the traffic to a standstill.

Both trucks involved in the accident were further damaged by the fire.

Hundreds of people had earlier walked some 10 km along the N1 in the hope of looting the trucks.

Some looters arrived on the scene with wheel­barrows.

Eyewitnesses say ice cream from the one truck, and tyres, motor parts and gardening equipment from the other, were strewn across the highway at the scene of the accident.

“One of the police officers at the scene, WO Frans Mofokeng, noticed a white Toyota Hilux bakkie driving away from the scene loaded with tyres,” says Sgt Mamello Mokhuoane, Thabong communications officer.

“He stopped the vehicle and asked the driver where he had obtained the tyres. The driver said that he had taken them from the scene when he saw other people also taking tyres.

“Mofokeng arrested the 54-year-old driver for the possession of suspected stolen property.”

Members of the Public Order Policing Unit used teargas and shock grenades to disperse the crowd.

The police and local farmers contained the fire until the fire brigade arrived.

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