First cops on the Gavin Watson crash scene describe what they saw

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The first two cops to arrive on the crash scene of Gavin Watson details when exactly the accident occurred and what happened in the minutes following the crash, writes Mandy Wiener.

The sworn statements of the first two Ekhuruleni metro police officers to arrive on the scene of Gavin Watsons fateful car accident, sheds new light on the moments after he crashed his company vehicle into a concrete pillar near OR Tambo International Airport.

The affidavits provide clarity on the exact timeline of events, who alerted authorities about the accident, which emergency personnel responded and what was found on the scene.

Watson, the head of controversial services company Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations, died just after dawn on Monday August, 26 on the R21 as it approaches the airport.

In the past month, there has been fierce speculation about whether the crash was a straight forward accident, whether it was the result of a heart attack or stroke, whether it was assisted suicide or if Watson was murdered. Some have even suggested the accident was staged.

A blame game has now started among his friends and relatives, who are making serious accusations, claiming they know who would be to blame if Watson was indeed murdered.

Declared dead at 05:27

The official technical Accident Report (AR) Form, completed by an EMPD constable at 05:34 on August 26, confirms only one vehicle was involved. A sketch illustrates how the Toyota Corolla was travelling on a curved road when it collided with a fixed object.

Conditions were clear, the road surface was dry and good and the road marking visibility was good. Under light conditions, ‘Dawn/dusk’ is marked with a cross.

The AR Form has been completed by the same EMPD constable who deposed a statement, confirming he and his partner, also an EMPD constable, were the first officials on the scene of the crash.

The constable explains how he came onto shift at 18:00 on the Sunday evening and reported on duty wearing full uniform. He and his partner were performing their “normal night duties” in a marked motor vehicle, a VW Polo.

At around 04:50 on Monday, “while busy patrolling with my crew member”, the constable says “we received a complain from an unknown African male motorist about the motor vehicle accident” [sic]. There is no further detail about the identity of this unknown motorist or whether his personal information was recorded. It is also not mentioned where the officers were when they were alerted to the crash.

When the two metro cops arrived on the scene of the accident, they found a single motor vehicle had collided with an object.

“Upon my inspection I saw a white male trapped inside the motor vehicle. I immediately contacted all the emergency personnel,” states the constable.

The paramedics who responded were from private company Cape Medics, which is based at OR Tambo airport.

“The driver of the ambulance inspected the scene and observations to the driver. At 05:16 he was starting his observations and at 05:27 he declare the driver dead.”

This detail provides clarity on when exactly the accident occurred and what happened in the minutes following the crash, however the statement does not specify what measures, if any, were taken to resuscitate or treat Watson.

Sources from other private paramedic services and from Johannesburg EMS say they were alerted about the accident and called to the scene, but were turned back and told not to respond once Cape Medics was on site.

The Ekhuruleni Fire Department were also on the scene to assist with cutting the motor vehicle to release the body. The Ekhuruleni Accident Bureau was responsible for taking photographs and measurements.

‘Wallet next to the motor vehicle’

The EMPD constable goes on to detail what he found on the accident scene.

“Upon my observation on the scene I found a brown wallet next to the motor vehicle. When I opened the wallet I found driver license, ID card, 5x Reward Cards. The picture of the person on the ID card and the driver license matches the driver.”

He later mentions there was also R70 in cash in the wallet.

He further explains that the ID card was used to identify the names and surname of the driver as Gavin Joseph Watson.

“I even manage to get his registered address on the radio from our control,” he adds, listing it as Watson’s PE home.

Notably, this statement also confirms that Watson’s cellphone was not on the scene. He also didn’t have his passport with him or any other personal possessions. Watson’s family claims the phone was traced to Germiston and Bryanston on the day of the crash, but they have been unable to find the device.

According to the statement, “the deceased [sic] properties that were found on the scene” were placed in a forensic bag. These included the brown wallet with its contents, a car key, one pair of black shoes and a pair of glasses.

The EMPD states that he handed the body to a Detective Constable deployed by SAPS stationed at OR Tambo International Airport, who in turn handed it to another cop.

A corroborating statement from the second constable, confirms the contents of the first affidavit, albeit in less detail. He too says an “unknown African motorist” complained to them at 04:50, they found “a white man” inside the motor vehicle and then contacted all the emergency personnel “using radio”.

Watson was examined and declared dead “at around 05:27,” he wrote.

The EMPD has declined to comment. Its spokesperson says all communication on this case must be channelled through the SAPS.

The police’s Brigadier Vish Naidoo also declined to comment saying the investigation must be allowed to follow its course.

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