Four persons were killed and three seriously injured when a car crashed into a tanker that was trying to switch carriageways on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway by sneaking through a broken part of the median near the Kamshet tunnel yesterday. The people in the car were members of a family returning to the city from a wedding in Rajasthan. The accident occurred at the 74-km point from Mumbai at 1 pm.
Median short cut
The police said the heavier vehicle was using a break created in the median, possibly by water tanker owners for use as a short cut to the other side. Nimaram Chaudhari (24), who was driving the car, his father Pokhram Chaudhari (52), and a relative Bhomaram Chaudhari, a resident of Vedbhavan in Kothrud, died on the spot.
A 26-year-old woman, Pavan Ramesh Chaudhari, was declared dead when she was brought to Lokmanya Hospital. Pokhram’s wife Devi (45), the couple’s younger son Pravin (16) and a relative, Nimeshdevi Chaudhari, were undergoing treatment at the Lokmanya Hospital in Nigadi.
“The three injured admitted to Lokmanya Hospital are critical and have sustained serious head injuries besides other multiple injuries,” Dr Jayvant Shrikhande of the Lokmanya Hospital said. “Devi Chaudhari has sustained a serious back injury.” It was the third accident on the Expressway in 18 days.
Superintendent of Highway Police Dilip Bhujbal said short cuts through medians are often created illegally by tanker owners tasked with the job of watering plants on the median. “When this accident took place, the tanker was trying to cross the road through an illegal median puncture,” Bhujbal said. “The Eco rammed into the tanker and got stuck in between the two sets of wheels of the tanker.”
Bhujbal said the Highway Police had asked the IRB to close the illegal median punctures on a number of occasions, but to no avail. Bhujbal said the Highway Police wrote a fresh letter to the IRB yesterday requesting it to identify the number of median punctures on the Expressway and install warning boards at these spots. “We have asked the IRB to close illegal median punctures to avoid such accidents in future,” he said.
33 dead in 18 days on Expressway
>> On May 28, 29 people killed and 26 injured in an accident near the Khalapur toll plaza on the Expressway
>> On June 2, nine people were injured when 17 vehicles collided in two consecutive pile-ups inside the Kamshet tunnel on the Expressway
>> Yesterday, four people died and three were seriously injured near the Kamshet tunnel on the Expressway