Having been convicted on 18 counts, the driver will save one-year-six months since the 18 counts are to run concurrently, while his driver’s licence was revoked.
In passing judgment, Judge Elita Mwikisa said she was sending him to prison to send a warning to would be offenders .
This is in a case in which Royd Soko, a driver of a Higer Bus registration number ABX 9888 was facing 18 counts of causing death by dangerous driving, contrary to Section 161 (1) of Act no 2002 of the Roads and Road Traffic Act, Cap 464 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence were that Soko caused the death of the 18 people on October 15, 2011 namely Webster Mbulo, Bertha Mwansa, Matilda Namukoko, Peter Chishimba, Purity Chipili, Francis Sitali, Harriet Mutale, Barbara Mulenga, Natasha Mumbi and Beatrice Nakazwe.
Others are Miriam Mulenga, Philip Seven, Joseph Mubanga, Elias Sinkolongo, Gillian Mulenga, Sain Sikapundwa and Winston Mulenga who all died on the spot.
During trial the prosecution team called witnesses among them a Zambia Air Force officer, Mushani Ng’andu who narrated that the driver was driving in a zig-zag manner shortly before the accident which also left several injured.
Another witness Kelvin Sichinga, who was travelling from Kasama, said the bus was not full to capacity but the driver was speeding from the time they started the journey, adding that he also had difficulties controlling the bus, especially when they reached an area where there were potholes.
He said when passing through a bridge, due to speeding, the driver could not properly negotiate a corner and got hit by an oncoming truck after hitting a pothole.
“My Lady, I saw the oncoming truck struggling which way to go as the bus was advancing in a zig-zag manner and at that point the driver of our bus was in the lane of the oncoming truck,” he said.
He recalled that before the accident, some passengers were complaining that they might die looking at the way the driver was driving.
At the close of the case, the accused was found with a case to answer and put on his defence though he denied the charges.
Ms Justice Mwikisa said because of his reckless driving, innocent lives were lost and revoked his licence and asked him to go back to training school so that he is re-tested.
She was hopeful that the families were compensated as the court was told through his lawyer and that the roads were not only for motor vehicles but for pedestrians and animals as well.
She urged motorists to always read the Highway Code.
She said in each count, she was sentencing him to one-and-a-half years, the sentences to run concurrently.
At least 18 people, among them 10 children, have died in a road traffic accident in Kapiri Mposhi on the Great North Road.
And 13 survivors are admitted at Kapiri Mposhi Hospital while four others were rushed to Mkushi Hospital after they sustained injuries from the mishap which happened around 05:30 hours today near Mubalashi stream.
The bodies of the deceased that include 10 males and eight females are lying in Kapiri Mposhi Hospital mortuary awaiting identification.
The accident happened when a Lusaka bound Higer Mwame Bus, registration number ABX 9888 coming from Mpulungu, collided with an on coming Tanzania bound truck laden with copper from the Copperbelt.
Zambia Police Service Spokesperson, Ndandula Siamana, confirmed the accident to ZANIS in Lusaka but could not give details.
However, Kapiri Mposhi Police Officer-In-Charge Martin Mooka confirmed the accident to ZANIS at the scene saying the collision happened when the drivers of both vehicles failed to negotiate a curve near Mubalashi stream.
This resulted in the bus hitting into the trailer of the truck forcing it to lose control, swerve-off the road and to crush into the hills that form part of the pavement.