Pregnant Woman and Tricyclist Among Victims in LASTMA Pursuit
Tragic Lagos Collision Claims Lives in High-Speed Chase
In a devastating incident that unfolded yesterday in the Ago-Okota area of Isolo Local Government Area (LGA) in Lagos State, a high-speed chase initiated by an official from the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) led to a horrific collision between a Toyota Sienna MPV and a tricycle (locally known as “keke Marwa”). The catastrophic crash resulted in the loss of lives, including a pregnant woman, her two young children, and the tricycle operator. This incident has sparked outrage and demands for accountability in the community.
Eyewitnesses at the scene reported that the tragedy began when a LASTMA official stationed at Okota roundabout attempted to halt the driver of a Toyota Sienna MPV for violating traffic regulations. The situation escalated rapidly when the official, accompanied by a police officer attached to LASTMA, entered the vehicle in an attempt to seize control of the steering wheel. A violent struggle ensued between the driver and the LASTMA official, all while the vehicle remained in motion, with the driver refusing to yield control.
In the midst of this struggle, the driver ultimately lost control of the Toyota Sienna and crashed into a tricycle that was operating on Bayo Oyewale Street, resulting in the immediate deaths of the tricycle operator and the pregnant woman. The two children accompanying the pregnant woman to school were left unconscious and severely injured.
The incident triggered a furious reaction from bystanders and onlookers, leading to an angry mob descending upon the LASTMA official involved. The situation became so volatile that the official was in imminent danger of being lynched by the angry crowd. Fortunately, a team of police officers from the Ago Division arrived in time to intervene, using tear gas canisters to disperse the mob and save the official from harm.
When Vanguard, a local news outlet, arrived at the scene, eyewitnesses provided harrowing accounts of the incident. One eyewitness, identified as Friday, recounted how multiple LASTMA officials, alongside the police officer, were engaged in a confrontation with the driver. He explained, “The Sienna vehicle collided with the tricycle that was operating on the street, killing a pregnant woman and her two children. The skull of the keke Marwa driver was on the ground. Angry bystanders began assaulting the policeman and LASTMA official who tried to flee.”
Another witness, whose shop was located opposite the accident scene, explained the context of the incident, saying, “In that area, when you reach a certain point, people tend to use one-way routes to bypass the bad road, particularly around Cele.” He added that the tricyclist was his customer, revealing that the victim had recently discussed his plans for an upcoming child dedication ceremony and wedding with the mother of his child.
The pregnant woman’s condition was initially critical, and she was rushed to the hospital. Tragically, before reaching the medical facility, she succumbed to her injuries, joining her two children in eternal rest. The fate of the Sienna driver remains uncertain, with conflicting reports suggesting that he may have also lost his life or is in a critical condition at a local hospital.
Witnesses and community members have placed the blame squarely on the actions of the LASTMA officials. They have expressed confusion and anger over why the pursuit continued even after the driver entered an estate. According to Michael, another eyewitness, motorists often resort to using one-way routes to avoid the deteriorating road conditions in the area, and this has become a source of income for some LASTMA officials.
The Lagos State Police Command, through its spokesperson, Benjamin Hudenyin, confirmed that only the pregnant woman and the tricycle operator lost their lives in the incident. Meanwhile, LASTMA, through its Director of Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department, Adebayo Taofiq, issued a statement absolving its official from blame and explaining that the incident was triggered by a driver of a blue Toyota Sienna bus, caught driving against traffic around Ago Palace. Investigations into the incident are ongoing, and the community demands answers and accountability for this tragic loss of life.