When 14-year-old Sonu Gupta sat inside a parked autorickshaw near his Kurla residence to enjoy his samosa plate on Saturday morning, little did he know that this would be his last meal.
Minutes later, a container truck caused a pile-up at Shramjivi Nagar in Kurla East crashing into three autorickshaws, crushing Sonu, and running over a motorcyclist. Autorickshaw driver Vijay Kumar Gupta, who suffered severe head injury, is critical.
“We rushed him to a hospital, but it was too late,” said Sonu’s sister Sushila (18).
Around 11.45 am, as the container truck, which was heading to Mumbai from Thane, was passing through Shramjivi Nagar when driver Mahadev Funde suddenly lost control of the vehicle, the police said.
As Funde veered sharply to the left, the heavy vehicle rammed into three parked autorickshaws and crushed motorcyclist Chandrakant Bharkumbe (40) to death before screeching to a halt, the police added.
Both Sonu and Bharkumbe died on the spot.
“We have arrested Funde on charges of negligence, rash driving and for causing hurt, endangering the life of others. He was not drunk at the time of the accident," said Inspector Suryakant Sawant, of the Nehru Nagar police station.
One of the autorickshaw drivers, Shivaji Adhawkar (45) escaped death by a whisker as he stepped out of his vehicle to drink water. “I had dropped a fare at Siddharth Colony in Chembur. I was feeling thirsty and so stopped to drink water,” said Adhawkar, a Kanjurmarg resident. “Suddenly I heard a loud noise and turned to see my autorickshaw being dragged by a container for about 150 metres.”
Autorickshaw driver Behnilal Bind was thrown out of his seat by the impact, but he survived with minor injuries. “I was thrown from my seat due to the impact. God saved me,” he said.
However, the third autorickshaw driver, Gupta, wasn’t so lucky. He is battling for his life in the trauma ward of Sion hospital.
“We were worried when he did not come home for lunch, but we never expected this to be the reason,” said his brother Sheshmani. “I haven’t yet mustered the courage to deliver this horrifying news to his wife, who is in Varanasi with their two children.”