A day after his father Salim, 50, was killed in Tuesday’s drunk-driving accident on the Eastern Freeway, 16-year-old Noman Sabuwala said that soon after the accident, a group of policemen stopped their vehicle in the opposite lane for a few moments but decided to do nothing and simply drove away.
Noman also described Janhavi Gadkar, whose speeding Audi crashed into their taxi, as “completely drunk” and “without any remorse”.
While the driver of the taxi died on the spot, Noman’s father Salim succumbed to his injuries at the Sion hospital. His mother Hafeeza, 45, and sisters Sadiya, 22, and Salma, 24, were badly injured and are recuperating at Saifee Hospital.
Janhavi Gadkar was supposedly under the influence of alcohol when she crashed her Audi Q3 into the taxi. (HT Photo)
“We were on the freeway when the taxi driver suddenly yelled out and the Audi crashed into us head-on,” said Noman.
Noman, a key witness in the case, sustained relatively minor injuries. It was he who got out of the taxi first. “I got out of the car and started to help my family members one by one,” he said.
“My father had severe injuries to his leg, chest and head. I could feel his bones sticking out. My mother and sisters were also badly injured,” said Noman.
He also tried to get passing motorists to stop and help but his initial efforts were in vain. “An empty Innova was passing by. The driver initially slowed down but sped away after seeing the accident. On the other side of the freeway, a group of policemen stopped their vehicle for a few moments, but even they decided to do nothing and carried on,” said Noman.
Eventually, a taxi driver stopped to help them. “The driver stopped another taxi behind him, which took my parents and sisters to the hospital. The woman (Gadkar) was so drunk she could barely stand. When the police finally reached the spot, she offered them money to hush up the matter,” said Noman.
He added, “There were no policemen on the freeway and even when the police arrived, there was no medical help available. After a while a large crowd of people had gathered, but only a few of them helped us – most just stood around clicking pictures.
Noman said Gadkar should be punished for her actions. “If lawyers do this, what will t he common man do?” he asked. “We want the strictest punishment to her. She shouldn’t be given bail and her passport should be seized so that she doesn’t flee the country.”
Recounting how a day of celebration ended in tragedy, Noman said his fathe was “very happy” that he had scored 65% in his SSC exams.
“We all were very happy on Monday afternoon, when the results were declared. We decided to go to Kashmira dhaba in Bhiwandi for dinner, and hired a taxi,” said Noman.