What the Canada-based Saldanha family had imagined would be a fun Christmas holiday in the city has turned out to be their worst nightmare.
One of the two autorickshaws in which this Indian family was travelling, met with an accident when a speeding car ran into it, near Bhaidas hall in Vile Parle on Saturday, killing a 52-year-old-woman and injuring three others.
The deceased Charlotte Saldanha, her younger son Jared, 14, and sister-in-law Christine Saldanha, 48 — who is a resident of the city—were in the rickshaw when it was hit by the car at 3.15pm.
“We had all gone to Irla to shop and were returning to our residence in Bandra. My 16-year-old son Neil and I were in the other rickshaw,” said Mark Saldanha, Charlotte’s husband.
“They were ahead of us. When we reached the intersection, we saw a mangled rickshaw and a huge crowd that had gathered. Unfortunately, my family was in it,” added Mark.
The three were then rushed to the Nanavati hospital, where Charlotte was declared dead on arrival.
“Christine has broken three ribs and has an injury to her skull. Jared has a broken shoulder and wrist,” said Robin, 45, Mark’s brother who lives in the city. Jared and Christine are currently recuperating at the hospital. The auto driver was injured too.
According to the Juhu police, the accused Jadhavendra Harakrishna Dev, 33, a resident of Maya Nagar in Worli was driving his owner’s car. “The driver attempted to take a high speed u-turn when he crashed into the rickshaw,” said sub-inspector Arun Khapkar, Juhu police station. He added that Dev later surrendered at the police station.
Eyewitnesses said instead of helping the injured, passers-by spent time beating up the driver. Ashish Dheda, 22, who reached the spot minutes after the accident said, “Even 10 minutes after the accident, the injured were in the rickshaw. My friends and I helped Mark rush the injured to hospital.”
“The family was in the city to celebrate Christmas and Charlotte’s mother 88th birthday,” said Robin.