Gran, 87, among dead in E Cape Turnbull crash
Taxi passenger describes horrific scene after seeing assault accused’s Jaguar speed past moments before
A Jaguar and a Mercedes-Benz sped past, locked in an apparent race. Moments later, just over a hill between Kenton-on-Sea and Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape, passengers in a taxi saw the same Jaguar severely damaged from a horrific accident. The Merc was nowhere to be seen.
This is how a taxi passenger described what happened on Sunday at about 2.30pm.
The driver of the Jaguar was Andrew Turnbull, who was facing charges relating to the assault of his former girlfriend. Two other people – Turnbull's passenger Ryan Byrne, 19, and 87-year-old grandmother Beulah Booysen – died in the crash.
Former Selborne College pupil Byrne, 19, and Booysen, who was driving to her retirement home in Kenton-on-Sea, died on impact. Turnbull, from East London, died overnight in hospital.
Turnbull’s car was allegedly driving at 260km/h when it collided with Booysen’s maroon Mercedes-Benz.
Times Select understands Booysen had been visiting family in Port Alfred on Sunday and was driving back to Kenton when her car collided with Turnbull’s Jaguar shortly after 2pm.
Booysen’s son, Murray Booysen, chose not to comment.
But according to an eyewitness, who asked not to be identified, a third car was involved in the lead-up to the crash.
The woman was travelling in a minibus taxi from Port Eizabeth to East London on Sunday afternoon when she noticed two cars racing past at high speed.
“We were about 10 to 15 minutes from Port Alfred when we saw the two cars passing us like they were racing,” the woman said. “One was the Jaguar and the other one was a Mercedes, although I couldn’t say for sure what its colour was because the sun was shining brightly.
“There was a truck in front of us, and then the truck started to slow down. We were approaching a hill so we couldn’t see properly, but when we got over the hill we saw there was an accident.”
She said she saw a maroon car – Booysen’s Mercedes – and a long-distance bus, in which there were a number of teenage children. It was then that the taxi pulled off the road to see what was happening.
“It was about 2.05pm. I then saw the white Jaguar. There was a big guy in the driver’s seat, but it looked like the car was going to catch fire. The driver’s door was completely off. I asked some of the guys around me help pull out the guy, but then we also realised there was somebody else who was trapped in the car on the passenger side. We managed to pull him out as well.”
She said the “big guy” – who turned out to be Turnbull – was communicating by pointing to injured areas of his body, particularly his arm, which looked broken.
“All this time I was trying to call the emergency services, but eventually I gave the numbers to another lady who had arrived because my taxi wanted to leave again.
“I worried about the kids on the bus because they must have seen everything. Some of them were crying. I was also crying. I am still shaking from this. I just hope the families can find comfort again,” she said.
According to police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender, the bus driver – who was travelling in the direction of Port Elizabeth on the R72 – said a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction had “sideswiped” the rear right of his vehicle when it passed him.
The driver then saw Turnbull’s Jaguar collide with Booysen’s Mercedes, which was travelling behind him.
A video posted on social media, purportedly taken by passenger Byrne, shows a reading of 260km/h on the speedometer.
“Andrew, our only son and brother to Lindy, passed away in the early hours of this morning [Monday] in PE due to serious injuries from a car accident,” Turnbull’s mother, Martha Turnbull, posted on Facebook early on Monday.
“His friend Ryan Byrne died at the scene. Please I’m begging everyone to please give us time to mourn and to stop the horrible stuff that is being posted on FB [Facebook]. We are heartbroken.”
Reactions to Turnbull’s death ranged from empathy for his family, to brutal and callous comments.Byrne’s uncle, Craig, said the family was shocked by his death.“I do not know the man he was travelling with [Turnbull] or even how he knows him. I have heard about the speeding and rumours and I really just do not understand,” he said.“Ryan went to school in East London but moved to Port Elizabeth about a year or so go. His family also live in Port Elizabeth. I do not know where they were driving. I know that they had come from lunch [in Port Alfred] and that is about it.”Old Selbornians Association executive director Alan Parsons confirmed that Byrne had been a pupil at Selborne College, matriculating in 2017.“Everyone is gobsmacked about what has happened. Ryan was a decent, well-rounded pupil. It’s horrendous,” Parsons said. “Both the Old Selbornians Association and Selborne College send our condolences to his family.”Turnbull shot to notoriety after a video of him allegedly assaulting ex-girlfriend Chere Gray went viral.
The footage was played as well as several recorded telephone conversations between Turnbull and the woman's ex-husband when he appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court in October 2018.
In the video, he could be seen pinning Gray against a wall, then tossing her aside as the person filming the video is heard pleading: “Andrew, please calm down.”
In a Facebook post on Monday, Gray wrote: “There was once a time when I loved you with all of me. Regardless of what has transpired, I forgave you a long time ago … May you rest peacefully now. Please respect Andrew’s family in their time of mourning. Goodbye Andrew.”
He was out on R10,000 bail at the time of his death.
The Dispatch attempted to get comment from Turnbull's lawyer, Nardus Grove, but he did not answer calls or respond to WhatsApp messages, which were seen.
– Additional reporting by Gareth Wilson and TimesLIVE