The angel of death visited the shanties on Carter Road on Saturday. And it came in the form of a drunk Alistair Perreira (20), at the wheel of a black Toyota Corolla.
Alistair, returning from a party at 3:30 am on Sunday with five of his friends, lost control of his car as he sped down Carter Road, careening onto the footpath littered with sleeping pavement dwellers.
By the time he brought the car to a screeching halt amid shanties reduced to rubble, six people had died and nine were critically injured.
As the dust settled, the sight before the shanty-dwellers' was chilling. The six fatalities — including a young boy, a little girl and three women — had died instantly.
The Toyota's wheels had smashed them into a pulp of bones and blood. Nearly all the victims had broken skulls, shoulders and chests, their stomachs torn open.
Ironically, the spot is a mere 30 metres away from the office of Additional Commissioner of Police (West) Bipin Bihari.
The victims, migrants from Andhra Pradesh, belonged to a cluster of families earning daily wages from the concretisation work that's been on in the area for over a year.
A Khar police patrol van happened to be just around the corner when the accident occurred. It arrived at the spot moments after the accident and nabbed three of the car's occupants, including Alistair (21), a production engineer who works with his father. Three other occupants fled. They were later arrested from their residences.
All six occupants of the car "were completely drunk" Senior Police Inspector Shivaji Kolekar told HT, a claim later backed by medical tests.
"Alistair was probably too drunk to see right," said Kolekar, adding, "The accident would never have occurred had he not been speeding."
The Toyota (MH-01 R-580) was seized by the Khar police. Its damaged condition is an indication of how horrific the accident was.
The front is completely smashed, both tyres mangled. The windshield is cracked and, witnesses said, three alcohol bottles were found inside the car.
Carter Road residents were not surprised the accident occurred. Speeding vehicles, they said, are a common sight. While minor mishaps are a regular occurrence, such a disaster was just waiting to happen.
The lack of speed-breakers, residents said, have made the 1.2-km road very accident-prone. Complaints to the police and traffic department have fallen on deaf ears.
"Rash driving has always been a problem here. It's a threat to the lives of residents and pedestrians," said Mikhtar Manekia, founder member and trustee of the Bandra West Residents' Association.
Alistair has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304, which has a maximum jail term of 10 years. The holiday magistrate court has remanded him in police custody till November 14.
His five friends — Craig Perreira (18), Kenroy Jacob (21), Curt Delima (20), Marvin Pinto (19) and Ronela Santamayu (20) — were granted bail on a surety of Rs 5,000 each.
Those killed in the mishap are: Timanna Aashappa (40, male), Lakshamma Raju (25, female), Maniamma Timmanna (35, female), Aajamma Malappa (35, female), Kavita Timmanna (5, female) and Dev Malappa (8, male). The critically injured are: Raju Malla (30, male), Ramchandra (30, male) and an unidentified male of 35 years.