Matatu Owner Jailed After Driver Hits, Kills Student


Regina Nyambura, a matatu owner based in Nyeri was put behind bars after her driver, David Njuguna, hit and killed a 21-year-old student.

The deceased, Wakhungu Karungari, was a Dedan Kimathi University student pursuing a degree in Leather Technology.

According to court records, Wakhungu was standing at a tailor’s stall along Mumbi Road in Nyeri on November 13, 2017, when the matatu driver lost control of his vehicle and rammed straight into him.

The student later succumbed to his injuries while receiving treatment at the Nyeri Referral Hospital.

The Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi as pictured on November 18, 2019
The Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi as pictured on November 18, 2019

Nyambura was named as a defendant in the case.

In his ruling, Senior Principal Magistrate Philip Mutua directed that Nyambura and her driver pay the family Ksh8,261,250 plus interest to the family of the deceased.

The figure was arrived at based on compensation under the Law Reform and Fatal Accidents Act.

One of the considerations was Wakhungu’s age at the time of his death. As he was young, the court placed his loss of expectation at Ksh150,000.

His university course then came into play. The average industry salary was noted as Ksh90,000.

“He would earn an average annual pay of Ksh960,000. That multiplied by the age he would have started working and a third of his dependency ratio comes to Ksh8 million,” the Magistrate explained.

In her defence, Nyambura told the court that her insurance company could only cover Ksh3 million, and having her in jail curtailed her ability to raise the rest of the money.

“How will I make a follow up with the company if I am sent to prison?” she asked. Nyambura was sentenced to a 30-day jail term after failing to meet the courts demands.

However, Wakhungu’s family maintained that the insurance company was just a third party to the case.

Accidents on Kenyan roads have continued to be a cause of major concern for the country.

According to the Fatal Accidents Law Chapter 32, the generally accepted principle is that very nominal damages will be awarded if the death followed immediately after the accident. 

The conventional award for loss of expectation of life is Ksh100,000 while for pain and suffering the awards range from Ksh10,000 to Ksh100,000 with higher damages being awarded if the pain and suffering was prolonged before death.

The wreckage of a matatu which involved in a road accident
The wreckage of a matatu which involved in a road accident


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