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My First High-Speed Chase

I have seen lots of movies that involves high speed chases and its always thrilling and adrenaline-filled even from watching from screen but when I got involved in one on 26th August, 2016, it was adrenaline filled but it sure wasn't thrilling.

I entered a bus heading to Umuaka, Orlu from the famous Douglas road in Owerri, Imo state and the journey started. As the driver kept going, he kept picking up passengers who were headed for the same route.

The drama started when we got to Orlu road after warehouse bus-stop, the driver still carrying a half empty 14-seater bus decided to stop around the High court area. As he approached, the area boys who usually helped bus drivers load passengers on the road were eagerly waiting for him and began their hustle to get passengers to get into the vehicle.

About five minutes had gone, the bus was still half empty and the driver became agitated, he needed to leave because he was aware the agents of Imo Enviromental Transformation Commission (Entranco), an agency set up by the current Government of Imo State, to apprehend bus drivers and Keke operators who stop at non designated bus-stops, were on the prowl for law breaking drivers such as himself. As his impatience increased and he wanted to leave, an argument ensured between him and one of the area boys because they wanted settlement for him stopping at their territory even though no passenger had entered the vehicle yet within their so called territory. 

The argument continued for about 2 minutes with no party willing to back down for the other, when the sharp eyed driver spotted a gray Toyota sienna filled with Imo Entraco agents closing in from behind with the aim to cut in front of our bus and ensure the driver doesn't make an attempt to drive off.

But, our driver's early sign of impatience meant he was prepared and he immediately swung into action, flooring the pedal with a flash of reflex. The bus which happened to be a 1999 Hyundai H200 bus roared to life and took off as the driver steered to the left to find an opening just as the Toyota Sienna cut it our front, a milli-second from blocking our bus hence capturing their target. 

The little opening the driver found was enough for him as he gathered speed hoping to out run his would be captors who were in still in motion in our front trying to slow and eventually stop our bus, but our driver was determined, both hands gripped the steering wheel tight and adrenaline now active in his bloodstream with his eyes focused on the threat in front of him. 

The first battle began as he maneuvered hard to the right then to left and back to right in a sharp zig- zag movement trying not to loose the speed he was still gaining likewise the space. But the agents were equally prepared for the vehicular warfare too and they responded with agility by cutting across each direction our driver steered to, hungry and determined to catch their prey, us. 

Chaos erupted in the bus, screams of fright from the passengers who were witnessing the drama in progress filled the bus. I was seated in front seat by the door, having a High Definition view of the action; with senses already heightened, my eyes focused, and the rest of my body on standby to react and protect myself from any crash which looked eminent. The middle-aged lady beside me kept shouting, Jesus, Jesus, with her blood pressure on the possible rise.

However the crash didn't happen and the battle of catch-me-if-you-can was peaking, both vehicles were now hitting a speed of likely 60 km/h. Still performing the zig-zag maneuvers, our driver made another life threatening decision, he found an opening to the on-coming lane and gunned for it. In a split second, our bus was tearing down the oncoming lane with on-coming cars swerving out of the way to avoid becoming road kill. 

Horns blaring ferociously filled the atmosphere as both our bus on the on-coming lane and the sienna filled with Imo Entranco agents back on the right lane were now at a full speed as this had now become a high speed chase; something I believed movie makers and actors carefully and safely orchestrated for public viewing pleasure.

At this moment, shrieks of panic and cries of terror in our bus was at its maximum and our driver wasn't helping matters as he was shouting back at the passengers to 'shut up' so he could maintain his focus, but nobody was listening either.

As the chase continued and our bus was beginning to encounter more oncoming traffic, forcing the driver to be applying brakes, killing his speed and distance gained. responding to that he found another opening back onto the right lane ahead and sped for it. The on duty traffic officers who were standing at a junction, seeing the bus heading straight for them, hurriedly jumped out of the way. 

Within seconds we were back on our normal lane with the sienna just right behind us. our driver was still ever more determined not to be captured by Entraco agents who at that point had refused to back down, showing that they were very much determined he must be captured, possible any cost. Without warning our driver steered hard to the right as he reached another junction turning sharply into a street, taking his pursuant in the Sienna by surprise. The rear tires of the bus screeched as the bus completed the turn and once again the engine roared as the driver floored it again while the Sienna behind follow us still, losing speed and giving our distance as the agents recovered from being caught off guard with our bus driver's swift movement.

The road we had turned onto was in a terrible state, it wasn't tarred completely and was pot-hole infested but, that didn't dissuade the driver of our bus as he wasn't going to give up now. The bus with its poor shock absorbers was now diving in and out of pot holes and yet the sienna followed suite ensuring that the chase continued.

At this point I have to summarize what followed because the sharp turns happened so fast that I lost track of how many left turns and right turns our bus made. After what seemed like it would end in a disaster, our driver succeeded in loosing the Entraco agents in their Sienna. He began to slow down when he was 100% sure he had achieved his dangerous escape, as the terror filled passengers were beginning to calm down also after minutes of heart-stopping drama.

The driver eventually found his way back onto the road, somewhere around Akwakuma roundabout and continued on his original route to Umuaka-Orlu. The relaxed passengers to my surprise didn't condemn the driver for putting 15 lives including himself and other motorists in danger, but rather talked about how good he was and how the Imo Entraco agents whom I suspected were lost with their Sienna somewhere in the rough streets of Amakohia and wondering how a driver in an old bus could out run them, have become a problem to private, commercial motorists and commuters in Owerri. 

Shortly after, I alighted at Ohii junction and as the bus drove away I just stood and gazed at it fading into the distance, reminiscing an experience that I found dangerously thrilling, well, that's because I came out of it in one piece. But I hoped never to experience the edgy episode again because the irresponsible driver who I must admit was good at his driving, disregarded to safety of his passengers and other motorists trying to escape paying for breaking a law he was aware of and also the Imo Entraco agents failed to apply caution in exercising their duty, therefore both parties could have caused a devastating and fatal accident during the chase.

Anyway, now I can watch more movies involving high speed chases with a better understanding, having been a witness in a case of a Hungry lion and a desperate Antelope.

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