At least nine people were killed and 13 others injured when a speeding luxury car crashed into a group of people gathered to help victims of an earlier collision between an SUV and a truck on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway in Ahmedabad early on Thursday.
Two police officials and a home guard jawan, who rushed to the spot after the first accident, were among the casualties of the second accident, officials said. The driver of the luxury car was arrested late on Thursday night.
“At around 1am, a Thar collided with a truck at ISKCON Bridge on SG Highway. After receiving information about the accident, local traffic police and a Home Guard jawan reached the spot to manage the traffic and handle the situation. Several bystanders also gathered at the spot,” Satellite police station inspector KY Vyas told PTI.
None of the people involved in the first accident were injured, said an official with SG Highway-2 traffic police station.
A few minutes later, a Jaguar ploughed into the crowd, Vyas said, adding that five people died on the spot from the impact.
“When they were on the bridge, a speeding Jaguar car rammed into the crowd, killing five persons on the spot, while four persons died during treatment,” Vyas said.
The car was estimated to be speeding at 120 km per hour, said the official quoted in the second instance. Of the nine deceased, five were killed on the spot, while four others died at Sola Civic Hospital, where they were taken for treatment.
“Nearly 10 persons who received injuries were admitted to different hospitals,” Vyas said.
The deceased were identified as Arman Vadhvaniya, 19, and Ali Kutchi, 21, both from Surendranagar; Ronak Vihalpara, 19, Kunalbhai Kodiya, 20, and Akshar Patel, 21, all from Botad; and Niravbha Ramanuj, 22, from Ahmedabad.
One of the people who was injured said the crash happened within seconds.
“We heard a loud bang and rushed over to the bridge. We saw that an accident happened between a Thar and a truck and reached out to help. I was clicking pictures when I heard a speeding vehicle. I turned around to see and before I could figure anything out, I was flung in the air. Next thing I remember is waking up in the ambulance,” said Altamas Qureshi, 19. Qureshi sustained injuries on his head, hands and legs, but was discharged after treatment at a hospital in Ahmedabad.
While one of Qureshi’s friends escaped unhurt, another is scheduled to undergo surgery for serious injuries on his legs at a private hospital in Gota, he told HT.
Deputy commissioner of police, traffic, Neeta Desai said an FIR has been registered in this connection with the case.
“It does not appear to be a case of drunk driving. But our primary investigation has revealed the speed of the Jaguar car was extremely high,” Desai said at the Sola Civil Hospital.
The FIR was filed on the basis of a complained by VB Desai, inspector at the SG Highway-2 Traffic Police Station.
In the FIR, the deceased head constable was identified as Jaswantsinh Chauhan, 45, head constable as Dharmendrasinh Narsangh, 35, and home guard Nileshbhai Khatik, 38, from the Bokadev police station.
Demanding strict punishment for the car driver, Narsangh’s family told ANI, “He just went to help others, he was doing his duty and this happened to him. Strict punishment should be served to the car driver, we need justice, no matter if the accused is a builder or a businessman, give us justice.”
The Jaguar was being driven by Tathya Patel, 20, the FIR said. HT has seen a copy of the FIR. He was arrested late on Thursday night after being discharged from the hospital.
Tathya is the son of Ahmedabad-based builder, Pragnesh Patel, who also reached the spot after the accident.
“Tathya left the house at around 11pm on Wednesday night with four-five friends. He called me after the accident and I rushed to the spot. We have provided details of the other passengers of the car to the police,” Pragnesh told mediapersons.
“I took him away from the spot and rushed him to the hospital as he suffered injuries after people started beating him up,” Pragnesh added.
Pragnesh’s lawyer, Nissar Vaid, told media persons, “It was raining and there was low visibility at the time of the accident. There were no barricades on the spot after the first accident took place.”
The police have booked both Tathya and his father under sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing grievous hurt), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, along with relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Pragnesh has been booked for allegedly helping his son flee the spot and for threatening people, said the FIR.
Chief minister Bhupendra Patel announced a compensation of ₹4 lakh for the families of the deceased and ₹50,000 to the injured.
“The accident that happened last night at ISKCON Bridge in Ahmedabad is very sad. I express my heartfelt condolences. The state government has given ₹4 lakh each to the families of the deceased and ₹50,000 to the injured,” he tweeted.