Two people, including an elderly woman, were charred and another severely injured when the auto they were travelling in collided head-on with a car, overturned and caught fire near Morta on NH-58 in Ghaziabad on Saturday.
Eyewitnesses later said the car, a Maruti Zen, was speeding on the wrong side of the highway when the incident took place near Morta.
The driver of the killer car, identified as one Pramod Agarwal, too sustained injuries in the accident and has been admitted to a local government hospital for treatment.
The auto, driven by one Sonu, was ferrying passengers from Murad Nagar to Ghaziabad when it was hit by the car. The deceased have been identified as auto driver Sonu and Rajvati (80).
According to sources, the car was speeding down the wrong side of the highway and couldn’t swerve out of the way of the oncoming auto in time.
“The impact of the collision made the auto overturn and it caught fire. We suspect that the blaze was sparked off by the CNG cylinder that was fitted inside the vehicle. The auto driver and an elderly woman were trapped inside the auto and couldn’t be rescued. A third passenger, Rajvati’s granddaughter Kanta (55), managed to get out of the auto but sustained severe burns,” said Ummed Singh Yadav, station house officer of Murad Nagar.
Local civil defence volunteers rushed to the spot after receiving news of the incident and tried to douse the fire.
“The fire tenders took time to arrive as they found it difficult to get directions and chalk out a route to the accident spot. Long jams ensued over the highway after the incident,” said Anil Sareen, a civil defence warden.
“We have sent both the bodies for a post-mortem examination. We will also lodge an FIR against the errant car driver soon and arrest him,” said SHO Yadav.