Seven persons were killed and six others injured when a Tata Sumo rammed into a truck on a foggy Friday morning on the Barara-Shahabad road near Ugala village in Ambala district.
Local residents said the Sumo was speeding when the truck driver suddenly applied the brakes after one of its tyres burst around 7.30am.
The dead were identified as Kala Devi (70) from Panchkula; Salma (30), Zahid (35) and Suhail (4) from Shahabad; Vinod Kumar (28) from Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh); and Kamlesh Devi (50) and Ranjit Singh (52), a couple from Landa village near Saha (Ambala).
Among the injured, Lalita and Kulbir Kaur were referred to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, while Raman, Rajrani, Tammana and Samir were admitted to MM Medical College, Mullana.
Dr OP Aggarwal, head of forensic medicine at the medical college, said all victims were brought dead, adding that the bodies were handed over to relatives after a post-mortem.
The passengers were returning home after visiting a dargah at Kaliar near Roorkee (UP) when the mishap occurred. The bodies were removed with difficulty from the mangled remains of the Sumo.
Barara subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Aurvind Sharma and assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Mahinder Sethi were among those who reached the spot.
Station house officer (SHO) Harbhajan Singh stated that on the complaint of Sumo driver Raman, a case had been registered under sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the unidentified truck driver, who fled after the accident.
Raman said the passengers had boarded the vehicle in the evening on January 9 from Shahabad and started the return journey at 3am on Friday after paying obeisance at the dargah, adding that the truck was being driven rashly.