Six persons died yesterday when a petrol tanker crashed at Obong Itam in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on the Uyo-Calabar highway.
An eyewitness said the driver, whose name could not be ascertained last night, was reportedly running away from the police, who discovered his truck had one dim headlamp. It was learnt the driver sped off and crashed into a pavement, less than two minutes after escaping from the police.
A tricycle was reportedly trapped in the accident.
The eyewitness said all passengers in the tricycle died in the resultant fire.
The tricycle operator reportedly died in hospital.
A resident of Obong Itam, Cyril Ekpenyong, said the crash occurred at 8.30 pm.
He recalled that despite the truck driver’s refusal to stop at the police checkpoint , they did not chase him.
Ekpenyong said the truck driver might have thought the police would come after him.
According to him, the tricycle operator and another man in the truck were taken to hospital, where they were confirmed dead.
He said: “The accident occurred at 8.30 pm. We saw the truck as the police were trying to flag it down because it was with one headlamp, which was not even bright. The driver did not mind the police as he veered to their right to escape.
“The police did not chase him; he just unnecessarily sped up, apparently thinking that the police were running after him. A few seconds from where the policemen stood, we heard a bang.”
The state command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) spokesman Godsgift Uwen confirmed the incident.
He said the accident occurred on Monday at 8.30 pm at Kilometre 8, Obong Itam, on the Uyo-Calabar highway.
According to him, the truck crashed into a pavement and fell on the tricycle, with the five persons dying in the resultant fire.
Uwen said an injured victim was rushed to hospital. It could not be confirmed if he was dead or alive.
He said: “The cause of the accident was dangerous driving. It happened at 8.30 pm on Monday. The truck crashed into a pavement and hit a tricycle. As of yesterday (Tuesday), five persons, all men, had been killed.”