The dead boy was Christopher Elliott, an only child from Kenilworth, who was a talented bodyboarder and due to compete in the Wedge Classic in Plettenberg Bay next week. The smash happened in Nova Constantia Road on Wednesday night well before midnight, after the boys had been visiting friends in Hout Bay.
They hit a tree, apparently while travelling at speed on the narrow road. Metro Rescue had to cut the boys free from the mangled wreck using the jaws of life. The driver, who cannot be named as he is facing a charge of culpable homicide, is also in intensive care in Constantiaberg with severe facial and abdominal injuries.
His father, who owns the car, is a medical specialist at the hospital. The other passenger, Reggie Beki, believed to be the son of a domestic worker whose employers are subsidising his studies, is in intensive care at Victoria Hospital in Wynberg.
Police spokesman Andre Traut confirmed that all three were 17 years old and that the driver was unlicensed. "He had a learner's licence but you have to be accompanied by a licensed driver." Traut said they would investigate whether the driver had been drinking, but blood was not taken at the scene.
"Police asked for a blood sample but because of the critical nature of his injuries he had to be rushed to hospital." The accident is the talk of the area and some people are infuriated that the young man was allowed to ferry passengers unlicensed and allegedly after drinking.
One angry mother said parents needed to be held responsible. "What parent gives their child a car and lets them drive when they are under-rage?
Sally Mellish, chair of the South African Bodyboarding Association, said they were devastated. Christopher was a top junior body boarder who always "pushed the limits". "He was bloody naughty but everyone loved him," she said.
There will be a "paddle out" on Tuesday before the start of the competition in Plettenberg Bay in memory of Christopher, who was known affectionately as Chrizzle, and another at the Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club the following week.
Source: Cape Argus