A speeding tanker driver wreaked havoc on the Western Express Highway on Monday night, killing a cop and injuring 32 others, when his vehicle crashed into a police van and then into an autorickshaw at Andheri (East).
The tanker driver, Janardan Singh, 37, was arrested and subsequently remanded in judicial custody till March 5 by a local court. Police say, that prima facie, it appears Singh was not driving under the influence of alcohol.
By Tuesday afternoon, eight cops including two women constables were in critical condition, but out of danger, while the others were discharged.
The incident took place at 1.45am on Tuesday, when the tanker carrying tar was passing through the highway at high speed while on its way to Vadodra from Chembur.
At the Goldspot junction in Andheri (East), it smashed into the rear end of a police vehicle, which was crossing the highway to go towards the railway station.
The police personnel in the vehicle comprised 10 women constables, 20 male constables, an assistant sub inspector, the driver, and three others who were not injured.
The van, part of the entourage of four police vehicles carrying 70 policemen and 40 policewomen, had been called in by deputy commissioner of police Chhering Dorje.
They were going to the Versova police station from the Local Arms office in Marol, and had been asked to report to duty for the ongoing drive against illegal Bangladeshi migrants, said a police official.
“The tanker driver hit the Swaraj Mazda police vehicle, which overturned on impact. The tanker then crashed into an autorickshaw, injuring the driver,” said an officer from the Andheri police station. The cops and the auto driver were rushed to Cooper hospital in Vile Parle, where constable Shafiuddin Kazi, 23, succumbed to injuries.
Singh, who sustained minor injuries, has been working as a driver for the past seven years.