Yet another BEST bus driver was involved in an accident yesterday, when he ran over a student of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel School in Kandivli (West) while ferrying other students of the school. The six-year-oldchild was crushed to death.
The driver, identified as Jokhamlal Yadav (54), was driving a privately owned bus for just one day. He fled from the spot, but was later arrested from the BEST colony in Malwani where he lives.
Gautam Naidu was a student of Std I of the English medium school. He was crossing the road with his mother, when he came under the bus.
Gautam lived with his family at the Harishchandra Chawl in Daruwala Compound, located in Malad (West).
The boy’s father Ravi said that his wife Lata had gone to pick up Gautam from school at 12.30 pm. Yadav was trying to take a U-turn at the Bhogilal Puraiya Road junction on his way towards Borivli, when Gautam suddenly appeared before the bus, having left his mother’s grip to run across the road. Yadav failed to see the student in time, and also injured the child’s mother.
“When Gautam ran away, Lata tried to stop him, but the bus had already run him over. Lata tried to yank Gautam out of the bus’ path. It ran over her right foot, fracturing it,” said Hareshwar Pimple, Senior Inspector of Kandivli police station.
Within seconds of the accident, a crowd gathered at the spot and rushed the two to the Bhagwati Hospital where Gautam was declared dead on arrival. Lata was admitted to the ICU. “Lata is in a state of shock and so wasn’t able to provide a statement,” said Pimple.
The school bus is owned by a private company, Mehta Travels, and has been ferrying students of the school for the past 20 years, said a police officer. The company is owned by Jigar Mehta.
Mehta revealed that Yadav was a substitute for the permanent driver who was on leave.
“Yadav had been called only for today, and since he had experience, I trusted him,” he said.
A grieving Lata said, “I was crossing the road with Gautam when a bus approached suddenly, and my son came under the wheel. While trying to save him, I also got injured. He was close to my heart. I don’t know why everybody is hiding the truth from me, for I saw him die in front of my eyes.”
Sangeeta Shrivastav, principal of the school, said, “We have not hired the bus on contract. The parents hired it. We are not responsible for these buses.”
The police have arrested Yadav for rash and negligent driving and causing death due to negligence. He has also been booked for fleeing the accident spot, which is in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act. Yadav will be presented before the court today.