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Kenyan police told of crash's real driver

Wednesday 30 Jan 2013 5:11 a.m.

It was originally thought that a Kenyan was behind the wheel

It was originally thought that a Kenyan was behind the wheel

The New Zealander who was driving a minibus that crashed into a ditch in Kenya killing four people - including three Kiwis - could face charges.

Police are going through Interpol to inform their Kenyan counterparts that an 18-year-old Kiwi, David Fellows, was actually behind the wheel of a fatal mini-bus crash near the Ugandan border.

Dean of Canterbury University Law School Chris Gallavin says New Zealand law allows for charges against Mr Fellows to be made here.

“Irrespective of whether he is extradited or not, and if we say that no extradition application is made or if it’s made and it’s not successful, that does not necessarily mean that he will evade prosecution or investigation.”

After he returned to New Zealand, former Bethlehem College student Mr Fellows revealed he was driving the mini-bus when he lost control in heavy rain and the vehicle rolled and went into a ditch two weeks ago.

The crash killed Tauranga anaesthetist Brian Johnston and his wife Grace, and 19-year-old Caitlin Dickson. Five others were taken to hospital.

Those who died in the crash were part of a group of 19 volunteers - 12 students and seven adults - on a trip to Kenya to work at the Ark Quest Education Centre, near the Ugandan border.

It was earlier believed Kenyan man Christopher Mmata, who died at the scene of the crash, was driving.

Tauranga police were informed of the new crash information on Monday.

"This information will be forwarded to the Kenyan authorities through Interpol," a police spokesman said in a statement.

They were offering any assistance to Kenyan authorities and were waiting to hear back from them, he said.

Mr Fellows was not significantly injured in the crash and was among the first to return last Monday.

Bethlehem College principal Eoin Crosbie said he found out Mr Fellows had been driving and not Mr Mmata on Saturday, following the Johnstons' funeral.

Mr Crosbie said the driver swap was unusual and should never have happened. The college had expected a local driver would be the only person driving on the trip.

The college's Kenyan partner, Calvine Ominde, was first to arrive at the crash scene and Mr Crosbie believed he may have kept the driver's identity secret in order to get the students home without police investigation.

NZN/ RadioLIVE

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