Highway patrol warned victims, driver
The police claim that officials patrolling the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, where the gruesome accident that claimed 27 lives took place early on Monday, had warned both the members of the marriage party and the tempo driver who lost control of his vehicle and caused the accident just some time before the incident.
“Minutes earlier, the IRB personnel [IRB operates and maintains the Expressway] patrolling the highway had warned the bus passengers against sitting on the side of the road and had asked them to be careful of the speeding vehicles,” said RD Shinde, superintendent of police, Raigad, who inspected the spot and visited the injured.
Similarly, Shinde claims that the IRB personnel had warned tempo driver Somnath Phadtare, 23, after he inadvertently strayed off the Expressway on to the service road.
“He had been warned to drive on the road as he had strayed on to the service road earlier as well. He did the same thing at the accident spot. There were no other vehicles on any of the three lanes when he ended up on the service road,” said Shinde.
Though the medical report is awaited, Shinde said Phadtare did not seem drunk at the time of the accident.
“The driver used to regularly drive between Ulhasnagar and Kolhapur carrying parcels. He had driven along the same route the previous night too. He probably had not slept well during the day and dozed off while driving,” he said.
“Unfortunately, neither the passengers nor the driver paid any heed to the warnings,” Shinde said.
Phadtare, who fled from the spot after the accident, was arrested soon after and booked for rash and negligent driving causing death under the Indian Penal Code.