An 11-year-old girl became the latest victim of rash driving in the city last afternoon, after she was knocked down by a speeding auto rickshaw while crossing a busy stretch of the SV Road in Vile Parle (W). Jayalaxmi Devendra was on her way home from school when the accident happened around 1.30 pm.
A resident of Vile Parle, she was walking alone from Manilal Sunderji municipal school towards Nehru Nagar, and was trying to cross the road near the petrol station at Bhaidas Bhuta chowk. Neglecting the skywalk a few metres away, she chose to cross the road and an auto coming from Irla knocked her down. She fell to the ground and sustained injuries to her forehead, lower back, and minor bruises.
Jayalaxmi was rushed to Nanavati hospital by another rickshaw driver, and was then taken to Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle by her family. She was admitted to the ICU. Doctors were awaiting the results for her CT and MRI scans, at the time of going to press.
Ram Shankar, an eyewitness, said, “The girl was walking along the road divider, trying to cross the busy street. The auto rickshaw was travelling close to the divider as well, and could not stop in time, in a rush to pass while the signal was green. It knocked the girl to the ground. She started bleeding profusely from her forehead.” Shankar continued, “The skywalk has obviously been constructed for a reason, but people try to save a few minutes by crossing the street, putting their lives at risk.”
The driver was taken into custody by the Juhu police. “We have arrested the driver and charged him under Section 338 of the Indian Penal Code (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others),” said a senior police officer. He added that further investigations were pending.
Dhanlaxmi Rajidevi, the victim’s aunt, said, “Jayalaxmi always takes the skywalk. It is only today that she made the mistake of trying to cross the road. Both she and the rickshaw driver are at fault. The driver should have slowed down on the road as college and school kids use it frequently.”