A drunk driver shot 15 times by Tshwane metro cops while fleeing lost an R2 million damage claim.
The Gauteng High Court rejected Fhatuwani Ramahala's claim for damages in Pretoria after it was determined that he disregarded the orders of the metro officers during an incident five years prior.
There was no other way to stop him - the court said after Metro police shot at a BMW 15 times
The court found that on August 26, 2017, Ramahala and his girlfriend were sleeping in a Sunnyside apartment. A different girlfriend called to ask him to pick her up from the Menlyn shopping center.
His lover was informed that he couldn't fetch her since he had taken medication. A doctor testified that Ramahala had told him he wouldn't pick up his girlfriend because he was feeling weak after having epileptic convulsions the day before.
Ramahala agreed to get the woman after she persisted. Still, his night was cut short when metro police chased him down and fired 15 rounds into his car. Ramahala was detained for driving while intoxicated and careless.
He sent the metro police a summons demanding R2 million in restitution for his suffering, agony, and emotional trauma. However, he and the officers disagreed on whether the officers' action was appropriate.
According to one of the officers' testimony, Ramahala almost collided with their marked car as she made a U-turn and ran a red light. He acknowledged turning around but insisted it wasn't at a red robot.
Ramahala's eyes were bloodshot, the officer claimed, and he had an alcoholic odor. Ramahala acknowledged drinking alcohol but said he did it earlier in the day because he had been sleeping and his eyes were red.
Judge Sulit Potterill expressed dissatisfaction with Ramahala's repeated failure to comply with the metro officer's requests to exit the vehicle in her decision.
He also refused to provide the authorities with his license when they asked for it. Instead, he stopped at a roadblock, disregarded an officer's order to prevent it, and then continued.
They went after him. Then, putting other drivers in danger, he passed through three red robots. Finally, he took the other lane of traffic. "He disregarded a command to halt and get out of the car once more at the Justice Mahomed and Atterbury crossing.
Due to the plaintiff's increasingly aggressive behavior, it was fair to suspect intoxication. In those circumstances, she claimed, "firing the first shot at the tire was justifiable to prevent the plaintiff from pulling off." Twelve more rounds were fired while being directed toward the tires.
The admitted photos of the BMW show bullet holes in the left and right-hand fenders, three on the tire, one on the rim, three on the passenger door facing the back wheel, and one on the passenger door low on the door, in line with the side mirror of the car.
"At first glance, this might not appear proportionate, but nothing else could have been done to stop the plaintiff from running away. The Ford Focus couldn't keep up with the BMW, which was far faster.
Potterill said that while traffic violations cannot be compared to a murder suspect eluding capture, drunk driving does kill innocent bystanders." It is not acceptable to reward a suspect for breaching the law. The metro police had a legal basis for their actions."
Ramahala's request for compensation was denied.
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