Just like any 23-year-old, Lalnunthari Samate was excited about the Christmas party with her four friends on Thursday night. But her friend’s mistake of taking the wheels when he was drunk, even as the city police have initiated a special drive against drink driving, cost Samate her life.
Pradeep Shah, 30, who was driving the Wagon R, crashed into a divider while overtaking an autorickshaw on the Western Express Highway (WEH), at Vile Parle (East).
“The group was returning from a Christmas party at a pub in Bandra. They all left from the party around 1.30am, after the pub downed its shutters,” said Raksha Maharao, senior inspector, Vile Parle police station.
While Shah fled the accident spot, the three others — Chongromoi Guete, Rimi Fimrang Khum and Jayesh Bhalia — escaped with minor injuries.
Shah later surrendered at the police station.
The police said prima facie, it appeared all five travelling in the car had consumed alcohol, but they have not invoked sections of drink driving, as they were awaiting their medical reports.
A patrol van was present a km away from the spot where the incident took place. After the accident, the passers-by and locals gathered at the spot to help those travelling in the car.
They were taken to the VN Desai hospital, where Samate was declared dead before admission.
According to the police officials, Samate had just met and befriended Shah and his friend Jayesh Bhalia, through common friends. Guete and Bhalia knew each other, as they met at a local pub around a month ago.
Samate is the youngest daughter in her family. She worked at a spa in Bandra.
She used to stay in Yogiraj Ashram area in Santacruz (East), with her elder sister, brother, Guete and Rimi Fimrang Khum.
Guete and Khum also worked at the same spa. Shah is a labour contractor, while Bhalia is a civil contractor.