A survivor of the Saturday night Kitui accident in which 11 passengers were killed said the driver was speeding.
The victims were from a dowry payment ceremony and were returning to their homes at Kanyonyo in Lower Yatta, Kitui county.
"The accident occurred between Kathiani and Kathutu, three kilometres off Nairobi - Garissa highway junction. The deceased persons were coming from a dowry payment ceremony," Lower Yatta deputy County Commissioner Rebecca Ndirangu said.
"It was a self-involved accident. The driver of the matatu lost control and the vehicle veered off the road and rolled severally."
Ndirangu said all the victims were relatives and from the same village, while six of those who died were from the same family.
Speaking at Kitui Level 4 Hospital where he is admitted, J Vundi said the 14-seater matatu was also overloaded.
The accident happened minutes after 10 pm near the Roads department camp on Kitui–Kanyonyoo road, just off Thika–Mwingi-Garissa highway.
“Our driver was speeding as he wanted to overtake a vehicle that was in front of us. I'm not sure what happened, but I remember the vehicle we were travelling in almost hit the vehicle ahead. Our driver then swerved and lost control of the vehicle,” Vundi said.
Vundi, who was in pain, said the vehicle rolled several times after veering off the road.
“We were all thrown out in different directions. I found myself lying on the ground with other people scattered all over,” Vundi said.
He said he lost consciousness and then found himself at the Kitui hospital. He suffered a broken leg and bruises all over the body.
Vundi said he was told an X-ray will be carried out on him on Monday morning.
He said the vehicle was overloaded because it was making its last trip from Mbondoni village in Mwingi West where there was a dowry negotiation earlier in the day and no one wanted to be left behind.
The passengers were only a few kilometres to their destination in Katutu, Mutanda, Nzokani and Kathiani areas.
Kitui county police commander Leah Kithei said the 14-seater matatu was carrying more than 20 passengers.
She said most of those injured and those who perished were family members, relatives, neighbours and close friends.
Kithei said nine passengers died on the spot while two succumbed to their injuries in hospital.
Of the two who died while undergoing treatment, one succumbed at Kitui County Referral Hospital and the other at Matuu Level 4 Hospital in Machakos county.
Kithei said the matatu belonged to the Nakimu Sacco.
She said the matatu driver fled from the accident scene.
Kanyonyoo assistant chief Jacob Mueti, who was among the first to arrive at the accident scene, said the vehicle was carrying 24 passengers.