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Negligence costs coastal driver N$300 000

2023-07-06  Eveline de Klerk

Negligence costs coastal driver N$300 000

SWAKOPMUND – Not only did it claim the lives of his pregnant fiancée and son, but the fatal accident will now also cost Leon Schiefer more than N$300 000 for a car that was written off. 

The deadly accident occurred on 4 December 2018 between Usakos and Arandis. 

These details are contained in a judgement that was delivered on Tuesday by High Court Judge Eileen Rakow. 

It states that Schiefer, who was driving a black Volkswagen Golf GTi, collided with a gold Toyota Hilux pick-up that was being driven by Jaco Smith when the accident occurred approximately 20 kilometres outside Usakos. 

Although Schiefer denied being solely responsible for the accident, an independent witness, Haley Fourie, who was travelling from Walvis Bay to Keetmanshoop, sealed his fate during her testimony. 

Fourie recounted they were driving at a slow pace behind several vehicles when she noticed Schiefer’s vehicle rapidly approaching from behind. 

She observed him swerving to the right – and moments later, the collision with Smith’s vehicle occurred. 

“The defendant denied being the sole cause of the accident and argued that while he was driving, a vehicle unexpectedly stopped in front of him, forcing him into a sudden emergency that led to him veering into the oncoming traffic lane. However, an independent witness observed the incident, and the court fully accepts her testimony. There is no reason to doubt the plaintiff ’s version of events, stating that he was driving in his designated lane when he saw the defendant’s vehicle rapidly approaching at a distance of approximately 10 meters,” Judge Rakow said in her judgment. 

Schiefer also claimed that if he was found negligent and held liable for the collision, the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the accident, and damages should be shared accordingly. 

However, the court found Schiefer’s account to be unconvincing and dismissed his evidence. 

It upheld the plaintiff ’s testimony, supported by Fourie’s account, as she observed the vehicles involved in the accident and confirmed that she did not witness the plaintiff ’s vehicle moving into the oncoming traffic lane. 

“Consequently, the court ruled in favour of the plaintiff [Smith], ordering the defendant to pay the awarded damages and costs, which include legal fees. The case has been concluded and removed from the court’s docket,” the court document further reads. 

2023-07-06  Eveline de Klerk

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