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Train Accident in Tema: Four Face Court Over Deadly Crash

Accra High Court Tackles Railway Safety After Fatal Incident

by Adenike Adeodun

On April 23, 2024, four people were brought before the High Court in Accra to face charges related to a recent train accident that occurred at Kpong in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The defendants, Kokuo Koudjo, Patrick Kwaku Sosu, Alaza Prosper, and Fiadugbe Emmanuel, were accused of abetting unlawful damage, which was connected to an incident involving truck driver Abel Dzidotor who had already been convicted.

The case unfolded when Abel Dzidotor, a 41-year-old truck driver, was sentenced to six months in prison for negligently parking his truck on the railway tracks at a location marked as “Km 76 + 100.” This act led to a significant train accident. The four accused were alleged to have assisted Dzidotor in creating the conditions that led to the mishap. During their court appearance, presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, pleas were not taken as the prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Christabel Selma Anafure requested additional time to complete the ongoing investigation. Consequently, the court adjourned the case until May 8, 2024.

Prosecutor Anafure provided a detailed account of the events leading to the accident. She explained that on April 18, 2024, the accused were traveling in a Hyundai Gold truck, registration GS 9018-20, driven by Dzidotor. The group had earlier purchased blocks from a block factory in Juapong and were transporting them to a site in Abortia. Opting to avoid an underpass, they instead attempted to cross the railway at a non-designated point.

The prosecutor noted that despite recognizing the railway was not passable by motor vehicles, the group placed stones on the tracks to create a makeshift path for their truck. Their attempt to cross failed and the truck became stuck on the tracks. The accused then allegedly adjusted the position of the truck and left the scene without setting up any warning signals for incoming trains.

This reckless decision had immediate repercussions. On the same day, a test run of the new Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) 001 Train, operated by Ghana Railways Company and including engineers from Ghana and Poland, was scheduled along the route. Unaware of the truck’s presence across the tracks, the train collided with the stuck vehicle in the Abotia area, resulting in significant damage to both the train and the truck.

The aftermath of the collision was severe. The train was sent back to Tema for a thorough examination, while the remnants of the truck, which was damaged beyond repair, were taken to the Juapong police station for further processing. The incident highlighted severe safety lapses and raised questions about overseeing railway track crossings and the need for stringent safety protocols.

The court’s proceedings against Koudjo, Sosu, Prosper, and Emmanuel bring to the forefront the critical issues of responsibility and safety in railway operations. The case not only underscores the importance of adhering to established safety guidelines but also serves as a sobering reminder of the potential human costs of negligence.

Furthermore, this incident casts a spotlight on the broader implications for rail safety in Ghana, particularly as the country continues to expand its rail network. It stresses the need for comprehensive safety education and strict enforcement of traffic regulations around railway tracks. The outcome of this case may prompt legislative and procedural changes to enhance railway safety, ensuring that such avoidable accidents are mitigated in the future.

As the legal proceedings continue, the focus remains on the judicial system’s handling of this case, which could set precedents for how similar cases are managed. The community and stakeholders are keenly observing the developments, hopeful for justice and measures that will enhance safety and prevent future tragedies on Ghana’s expanding railway infrastructure.

Source: Graphic Online

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