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Kenya police say Tauranga teen wasn't driving van

Published: 6:10PM Sunday February 10, 2013 Source: ONE News

There has been another twist in the aftermath of the school van crash that killed three New Zealand volunteers in Kenya.

Kenyan police investigating the accident last month now say there is no way Tauranga teenager David Fellows could have been driving.

They are insisting that the Kenyan man who died in the crash, Chris Mmata, was behind the wheel.

The Bethlehem College-owned van was the twisted legacy of a school trip gone horribly wrong, and how it came off the road is crucial to the investigation by Kenyan police.

Kenya Police Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru said that according to the statement police got from the victims, the van was moving, and all was okay until it suddenly rolled.

"It started rolling, rolling, rolling and then it just stopped. So the driver is always the key to tell us what exactly happened," Kimaru said.

And that means another about turn as police inquiries in Kenya have cleared Tauranga teenager David Fellows of any blame.

That is despite Bethlehem College saying he has admitted he was driving the van when it rolled, killing four people and injuring up to 12.

Kenyan police told ONE News that story simply cannot be true.

They point the finger straight back to Kenyan Christopher Mmata, who died when he was thrown from the van.

A post mortem revealed he had shattered ribs.

"The post mortem, the injuries of the driver and also the inspection of the car is showing that really the driver, Christopher, was the one driving the car," Kimaru said.

Fellows returned to New Zealand with little sign of injury. And despite ONE News requests to speak to him, he has refused to front with his version of the crash.

Other survivors have tried to set the story straight, but some of the details do not add up.

On return to New Zealand, a survivor of the accident, Jan Deans, told a news conference: "It said heavy rain it was actually light drizzle."

Kimaru said it was raining, heavily.

Kenyan police say they will not be extraditing Fellows. But that does not mean he is completely off the hook.

There could still be a public inquest where anyone with information that could change the police case can have it heard in court.

Bethlehem College has based its own investigation on the assumption that Fellows was the driver.

The head of the board told ONE News the focus is on school procedure and not police matters. Fellows' lawyer said there has been no word from Kenya.

Kenyan police say they have no reason to take part in any cover up.

But their investigation poses more questions in this confusing case.