Court hears details of deadly collision

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene 20 July 2017, 12:00AM

The Supreme Court heard firsthand of events during the fatal car crash at Puipa’a where a vehicle driven by a Chinese man exploded when it slammed into a bus, killing an elderly man. 

The details came from Tuilau Etuale Paulo yesterday. He was one of 10 witnesses who testified in the hearing of Keji Li.

The Chinese man is accused of manslaughter and (alternative) negligent driving causing the death of Tanielu Venasio Pati. 

Li is represented by lawyer, Leota Raymond Schuster, while prosecuting is Leone Su’a-Mailo of the Attorney General’s Office. 

Li vehemently denied the charges. 

Tuilau was one of the passengers who sat close to the late Pati.

 “The bus was not full,” he said. “It was a Saturday afternoon and I also remember that we weren’t speeding.

“When we got to Puipa’a, I saw a Toyota Estima Van coming from the north heading south and the van was speeding.

“While the van was speeding I saw that it suddenly swerved to the left side of the road where the bus was and that’s when it crashed into the front left side of the bus.”

The witness said the van ripped through the metal structure of the bus.

 “When the van crashed into the bus I was holding on tightly and my head hit the roof of the bus,” he told the court.

“When I looked over where Luse was sitting she was going to fall out as the metal part of the spare seat broke and there was a big hole on the side of the bus.

“I pulled her back inside and that’s when the bus stopped not far from where the incident occurred.

“But at that time the Toyota Estima van was on fire because the diesel tank of the bus had exploded. It had leaked onto the road at Puipa’a.

“When the bus finally stopped I jumped out and I stood on the side of the road not knowing what to do because this all came as a shock to me.

“I’m sure it was the same with other passengers as well.

“While I was standing outside, I saw someone lying on the road but at the time I didn’t know who it was.

“I ran over to help and see who it was and that’s when I saw it was Tanielu. His face was all black.

“I then walked away to look for my younger brother who was also on the bus.”

The witness said he recalled the horrific sight of Tanielu’s body and his injuries.

The hearing continues.

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene 20 July 2017, 12:00AM

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