By Benjamin Omoike
A failed attempt by a 16-year-old boy to test his driving skills with his mother’s car at the Arena Shopping Mall, Oshodi, Lagos State, has cost a life.
Daily Times learnt that the victim, Mrs Tuale Iwejim, was walking to where she was to buy goods for her shop, when she was crushed by the Sports Utility Vehicle, SUV.
While the teenager struggled with the vehicle, he was said to have put it in reverse and hit the 50-year-old a second time.
The woman was rushed to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, Surulere, where she had surgery before her death.
The deceased’s husband, Christopher Iwejim, said his wife suffered life-threatening injuries from the accident.
He stated, “We were told that the boy and his mother went to the market to buy some things. After they did, the woman asked the son to wait for her in the car, so that she could go and pack the remaining items.
“While the boy was inside the car, somebody shouted that the vehicle was obstructing traffic and asked the occupant to park well. Instead of him to say he was not the driver, he took the key from the mother’s bag and started driving.
“He managed to engage the gear on drive, but forgot to use the brake. That was how he hit Tuale. While struggling to put it on reverse, he hit her again. She sustained what I will call first degree injuries on both legs from her waist down. The boy also damaged some billboards and structures in the market.”
Daily Times learnt that the N400,000, which the Delta State indigene borrowed to buy goods in the market, was stolen while she was being extricated from the wreckage.
Christopher noted that his wife was taken to a private hospital in the area, from where she was referred to LUTH.
The son, Amos, said his mother spent about three weeks at the hospital, where doctors battled to save her life.
“When the accident happened, she was stuck in a gas cylinder, and when they tried to remove her, some parts of her flesh got torn. Her hip bone was divided from her body. It also appeared like there were iron rods in her leg and there was a hole in the leg,” he said.
Daily Times gathered that as the medical expenses piled up, the victim’s family sought an agreement with the boy’s family for a 50-50 sharing formula.
However, the boy’s mother, identified as Victoria Ogunleye, was said to have showed up at the hospital twice with N100,000 on each occasion.
The family was said to have spent close to N1.5m in the course of treatment.
Amos said he was surprised that while his mother was in hospital, the military police, whose facility around the scene of the accident, was damaged, and had indeed detained the vehicle; had released the vehicle to the Ogunleyes.
He stated, “The military police called my dad and said the woman wanted to pick her vehicle, and he told them not to release it. But to our surprise, they released the vehicle to the family.
“LUTH later said they wanted to perform a surgery on her. A day after the surgery, she became unstable and they called my dad to ask if he could afford the ICU, because her breathing was not good. He agreed. They put her there, but she passed away the third day.”
The deceased’s son faulted the management of the hospital for not handling his mother’s condition properly, wondering how the case got complicated and led to her death.
Daily Times learnt that some representatives of the Ogunleye family had a meeting with the deceased’s family twice a few days ago.
The Iwejims were said to have demanded that the boy’s family bore the cost of burial and fulfil the agreement to share the medical cost by 50 per cent.
The deceased’s husband lamented that the military police made no arrests and were more concerned about their damaged facilities.
Daily Times contacted the mother of the boy, she declined comment, saying she was busy.
A senior official of the military police, Captain Fidelis Ekwote, also declined comment when asked about the alleged release of the vehicle involved in the accident.
“Come to the military police office in Ikeja cantonment. When you get there, you will get the facts. Ask for me or Captain Lawal,” he said.