The people of Ijako Owode Road, Sango Ota area of Ogun State were in shock after an emergency fire service truck belonging to the Ogun State Government Fire Service swerved off the road and crushed a trader, Bunmi Fatoyinbo, her seven-year-old son, Emmanuel Fatoyinbo and her 76-year-old father, Pa Moses Sogunro.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Baba Vulcaniser, said the crimson-coloured Mercedez Benz 911 water truck, marked, Ogun AG 123 A09, was occupied by two men and a woman.
Our correspondent learnt that it was driven by one Sokunbo Michael of Ogun State Fire Service, Ota.
The eyewitness added the driver was on top speed, before he lost control and rammed the vehicle into where the victims were sitting.
He said, “We have all been here together for the past eight years and Fatoyinbo (Bunmi) had been the one selling food, recharge cards to all of us.
“On Friday, around 1pm, I saw the truck coming on top speed. The brake must have failed; the driver swerved off the road and headed straight for where she was sitting. Her father was on a brief visit and was with her. The truck crushed Fatoyinbo (Bunmi), Emmanuel and their grandpa.”
Our correspondent learnt that the fire truck was still fully loaded with water and was returning from a fire incident scene when the tragedy happened.
The first daughter of the deceased woman, Esther, told our correspondent that the three victims were rushed to a specialist hospital, where her mother gave up.
“Before the accident, my mom had sent me on an errand. I was in the bus when people started calling me from different places, saying there had been an accident.
“When I finally got there, my mom had been rushed to Medicare Hospital in Ado Odo, Ota. The doctors said they needed blood for her. Before I knew it, she just stopped breathing and I was told she had died.”
The first son of Sogunro and a brother to Bunmi, Oluwatoyin Sogunro, said the remaining two victims were referred to another hospital in Lantoro, Abeokuta.
He added that before they could get to the hospital, they also died, throwing the entire family into mourning.
When our correspondent visited the Sango Police Station on Monday, where family members had gathered to see the policemen investigating the incident, the remaining five children of the deceased were there.
One of them, 10-year-old David, who is in Primary four, said their mother had promised to take them to a tailor a day to the incident.
He said, “My mom told us to prepare to take our cloths to a tailor for Christmas on Thursday. Then on Friday, when I was playing in our neighbour’s house, they called me. I saw my sister, Esther crying; she said mummy had died. When they told daddy that mummy had died, daddy also fainted and people started to beat his chest to wake him up. After that time, they told me that my grandpa and Emmanuel died too.”
The husband of the deceased, Sunday Fatoyinbo, said his world had collapsed because his late wife had been the bread winner of the family since he lost his job 10 years ago.
He said, “Being a Christian, I have taken this tragedy with a strong mind. Losing three souls in a day is painful. I have nothing left again. I lost my job 10 years ago, and it had been my wife that was supporting the family and sending the children to school.
“I have handed this matter to God. But I appeal to the government to give me a job, and probably give scholarship to my first and second born, to relieve me of this burden.”
The Police Public Relations officer for Ogun State command, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the incident and said the suspect was in police custody and would be charged for manslaughter.
He added that the Fatoyinbo family had told the police that they were not interested in pursuing a court case against the driver.
He said, “The family has said they don’t want any case. However, as police officers, we would play our role and pursue the course of the law. It is now left to them to file an application to the court to indicate that they were no longer interested.”
The head of the Ogun State Fire Service, Sango Unit, Mr. Obiwunmi Akanbi, said the agency had visited the deceased family to condole with them and would render all necessary assistance.
“We are with them as we speak because we heard that mother and son will be buried soon,” he said.