Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Tsegaye Deneke, a senior manager at the Sheraton Addis responsible for banquets and outside catering, died with three other passengers in a tragic car accident on Thursday night, December 29, 2011.
The accident occurred at 8:00pm after the Nissan four-wheel drive that Tsegaye was driving collided head-on, on the highway five kilometres from the town of Metehara, 193km east of Addis Abeba, according to police officers in the area.
Tsegaye and three of his friends, Gebgremeden Kasaye, Tekle H. Mikeal, and Gebre-Egziabeher Hailemariam, were driving back from an annual pilgrimage to St Gabriel in Kulibi, 464km east of Addis Abeba.
With hundreds of thousands of the faithful travelling to the church twice a year, this corridor is accident-prone. However, no major accident was reported to the Eastern Shewa Zone Police Department last week except for that of Tsegaye and his friends.
â€œI saw the vehicle parked alongside the road the following day,â€ said an eyewitness on his way back from the church. â€œStrangely, the front of the car was turned in the direction of Dire Dawa.â€
The accident happened when Tsegayeâ€™s vehicle collided with an advancing tanker truck with a trailer on its way from Addis Abeba to Djibouti. Tsegaye had tried to avoid another truck parked on the roadside without caution and progressed ahead when another truck advanced leaving little room to avoid the fateful accident, according to officers at the Metehara Police Department.
With the exception of Gebre-Egziabeher, who passed after being brought to a hospital in the town, all died on the spot, a police officer in Metehara told Fortune.
Tsegaye, 69, was in born Harere, 526km east of Addis Abeba. He is widely known for his long years of service in the hospitality industry. Beginning his carrier in the Addis Abeba Hilton at its opening in 1969, he was promoted to manage Hiltonâ€™s outlet that it once had inside the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). He had had different positions at Hilton, his last being banquet manager, until 1997.
He was, then, one of the three Ethiopians that Sheraton Addisâ€™s General Manager, Jean Pierre Manigoff, hired in 1998, during the preopening phase of the hotel. He served the hotel for close to 14 years.
â€œI know him as a decent and down-to-earth huÂ man being,â€ said a man who has known him since his early days at Hilton.
Tsegaye is survived by his six children, of whom three are married, and two grandchildren. His funeral will be held at 12:00pm, today, at Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Source: Addis Fortune