Kenya crash driver underage

The Bethlehem College student who was driving the mini-van that crashed killing four people in Kenya is believed to have been driving illegally.

The Herald on Sunday reported 18-year-old David Fellows, who holds a full New Zealand driver's licence, was not permitted under Kenyan traffic law to drive the HiAce mini-van known as a ‘matatu' when it crashed and rolled on a Kenyan highway.

David Fellows (centre white t-shirt) with other volunteers on their return from Kenya.

Tauranga anesthetist Brian Johnston and his wife Grace, along with 19-year-old Caitlin Dickson and Kenyan man Christopher Mmata were killed in the crash.

Kenyan law prohibits anyone under the age of 24 from driving mini-buses, and in addition any drivers of ‘matatus' must have a commercial licence for cars or commercial vehicles for four years or more.

A matatu is defined as a public service vehicle with seating for up to 25 passengers.

Under Kenyan law, it is an offence for a non-designated person to drive a public service vehicle, including a taxi, school van, bus, mini-bus and tour van, or for other people to allow such a person to drive.

The Toyota HiAce David was driving had 14-16 people on board at the time of the fatal crash, and had been donated to the Kenyan Ark Quest Academy by the college.

Bethlehem College confirmed last week that David was the driver of the van when it crashed on January 15 not the Kenyan man Christopher Mmata who was earlier believed to be driving.

Bethlehem College Principal earlier said it was a pre-arranged swap between Christopher and David.

The supposition that David was urged to keep quiet about his driving until he was out of the country, has since been denied in other media by Ark Quest Academy founder, Calvine Ominde.

He believed his friend Christopher Mmata was driving. Christopher was the last one he had seen driving, and his body was near the driver's door after the accident.

David returned to New Zealand on January 21 along with other survivors. School authorities say they were not told about the driver swap until Saturday, January 26 after the funeral for the Johnstons.

The families were told last Monday and the public on Tuesday, after the Auckland Anniversary weekend.

New Zealand Police have informed Kenyan authorities through Interpol. Kenya is also a Commonwealth country and extradition is possible – but first David Fellows will have to be charged with an offence by the Kenyan police.

The school's Board of Trustees has also launched an investigation.


Contradiction much....?

Posted on 09-02-2013 15:26 | By Vaughn

If the driver swap of the van was so "prearranged" then how come suddenly nobody new about it until a week later. When everyone was safely hiding back in NZ (hoping to avoid any criminal charges)....!?!?


Posted on 05-02-2013 10:25 | By charob

i believe also that the other people on the van are just as guilty for hiding the truth. agree with dgk. If only they had all told the the first place.


Posted on 04-02-2013 21:16 | By drgoon

The only person who says anything of value is Dollie.

Truth comes out.

Posted on 04-02-2013 18:42 | By dgk

If only they all had done the Christian thing and told the truth and followed the law from the beginning. Oh well, maybe their God will forgive them.

Poor David.

Posted on 04-02-2013 15:52 | By sojourner

The Kenyan assigned driver knew the local laws and yet arranged that this NZ youngster should drive this van. There were at least 14 other responsible people involved who could all have protested and not allowed him to drive, especially in the described conditions. Isn't it enough of a life-time load on this young man's shoulders and heart that he was in the end responsible for this accident? Must he bear that horror all by himself? I can't believe this finger pointing at him alone while no one else speaks up in his defense. As I see it, the only guilty party in this tragedy is the driver who gave the wheel to David, and he already paid with his life. What more do people want, justly and fairly? Forgive and absolve, and do so quickly, all you good Christians, and do something to help the healing along.

Kenya crash driver underage

Posted on 04-02-2013 14:49 | By waima20

Interesting its ok to break one of the 10 commandments when it suits religious people!

Laws are different in each country

Posted on 04-02-2013 14:12 | By jayjay

Like the saying goes 'when in Rome, do as the romans do'. So in this case, 'when in kenya do as the kenyans do, this guy fully neglected the rules and did as teenage boys do in NZ.


Posted on 04-02-2013 12:39 | By Dollie

Has the Afican man who died been helped? His family didn't have money to bury him.

The continuing saga

Posted on 04-02-2013 11:04 | By Sambo

this entire accident has tarnished the reputation of this school, and when we should be remembering the people who lost their selfless lives helping others, we are instead directing anger at an arrogant, self righteuous attitude by the school board, and do not for one moment let me hear comments from other pious people out there blaming the press, they are only doing what they should do, and that is report the facts!!!, which is something the school has failed to do, and why are the tax payers now being asked to fund a private investigation?, this sorry saga reeks of hypocrisy,self preservation, and plain arrogance, and are they above the poor Kenyan who also lost his life?.


Posted on 04-02-2013 09:58 | By whatsinaname

oh dear. all will come out in the wash.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now
Opinion Poll

Should Tauranga City Council make The Mall along Pilot Bay one lane?


Bay Today

Lest we forget, Mt Maunganui. Photo: Cherry Fowles.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty.