Five youths were killed in an early morning car crash on the Western Express Highway in Vile Parle. The speeding car, which was heading towards south Mumbai, crashed into the divider and rammed and upended against a tree, trapping its occupants inside.
The accident took place at 4.55 am, 200 metres away from the flyover over the domestic airport and outside a row of marble suppliers.
The deceased have been identified as Muzammil Kanosiya (22), Junaid Shaikh (22), Afsar Ali Asgar Ali (30), Dilip Solanki (24), all residents of Mira Road, and Rashida Shaikh (25), who lived in Mumbai Central. Solanki and his father run a general supplies store and a clothing store in Mira Road. After news of the accident broke in the locality, shops in the market remained shut on Thursday as a mark of mourning.
The police said that on Wednesday night, Muzammil, who is a driver by profession, borrowed his uncle’s grey Honda City car. Neighbours at Fatima Apartments in Mira Road said that he had been driving for the past six months. “He told his uncle that he was taking his friends around Mumbai,” said Raksha Maharao, senior inspector, Vile Parle police station.
The police said that all five, including Rashida, who also has family in Mira Road, left together. Muzammil’s family has told the police that he left home at 8 pm. “We are not sure where the deceased went and for how long they drove. We do not yet know if they consumed alcohol but it seems that after a point, the driver became sleepy,” said Maharao.
The police added that after descending the flyover, Muzammil lost control of the car and attempted to slow it down on the kerb. “But the car was at such speed that it grazed the footpath without coming to a stop,” she said.
The car then rammed into one tree, before continuing ahead and crashing into another tree just a few feet ahead. The police said that the car flipped over and came to a rest vertically alongside the tree. “The car hit the tree at 8 to 9 feet height. Muzammil was flung out of the car due to the impact while Rashida was trapped inside between the front and rear seats,” added Maharao.
The bodies of the occupants had to be extricated from the wreck by the fire brigade. “The front tyres have burst, which may have led to the crash. But we will await a report from the RTO,” said Maharao. The crash completely flattened the vehicle, shattering all its windows, leaving fragments on the road, and ripping its roof out.
The sound of the crash woke up labourers at the marble shops. One of them, who did not want to be named, said that the crash had left the occupants severely injured. “There was blood everywhere on the road,” he said.
At Cooper Hospital, Muzammil, Afsar Ali, Dilip and Rashida were declared dead upon admission, while Junaid was admitted to the ICU with severe injuries. A doctor said that he passed away at 6.10 am.
The bodies were handed over to the waiting families on Thursday evening after a postmortem. Shoaib Kanosiya, a cousin of Muzammil, said, “Young people should have fun but in a safe way. People should drive safely.”
A case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been registered against Muzammil by the Vile Parle police. “We have also taken his blood sample and sent it for forensic testing to determine whether it is a case of drunk driving,” said Maharao.