Angela Luchivya narrowly cheated death in November 1999 when she was involved in a road crash at Maungu, 120 kilometres from Mombasa.
Five other passengers who were with her in the 14-seater private van on that iil-fated day were not so lucky.
They lost their lives when their vehicle rolled after a tyre burst.
AIRLIFTED TO NAIROBI
Four of the victims were Angela’s Barclays Eaglets basketball teammates while the fifth was their coach.
“I believe my colleagues would be alive today if we had all strapped our seat belts. The (team coach) died in my hands,” Angela says.
When Angela was taken to the Voi District Hospital, she found it was full to capacity because ironically, there had been an earlier accident involving a bus at the very same spot where their van rolled.
“The staff over there didn’t have the capacity to treat us. Luckily, our sponsor (Barclays Bank) opted to airlift us to Nairobi Hospital for specialised treatment.”
That hospital turned out to be Angela’s home for the following three months.
She had multiple fractures on both her legs besides other injuries to her back and hands.
Even after she was discharged, Angela, then a first year student at the University of Nairobi, remained on crutches (and sometimes on a wheelchair) for another six months.
“It was a very traumatic experience. Almost Everyone referred to me as the lady in crutches,” she says.
The basketballer counts herself lucky because the bank also paid for her counselling.
COMEBACK TO BASKETBALL
Unfortunately for her, she suffered yet another fracture while recovering.
“It was frustrating, I could only watch as my pals went on dates and came back to talk about it,” she recalls.
Eventually, Angela, now a mother of two battled, her way to normalcy.
She eventually returned to the basketball courts, and went on to win several accolades, including the Most Valuable Player at the Zone V tournament.
Her best highlight was being the Female overall captain for Team Kenya at the All Africa Games in Algeria a decade ago.
Significantly, she has also grown in her career to become the Commercial Manager at Coca-Cola East Africa.
“I am thankful for the transformation, even though I still have scars from the incident, and at times suffer back pains.
“I would ask the Government to make our roads safer, and ensure police do more to reign in errant drivers, especially those driving trucks and lorries.
“I am also excited about the Standard Gauge Railway and hope the trains will help in lowering traffic and consequently traffic accidents along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.”