Racing on the busy Zirakpur flyover, two drivers lost control of their vehicles, jumped the divider and rammed into three vehicles on the other side of the road on Friday afternoon, resulting in the death of two youths and injuries to at least eight persons.
The dead included a teenager driving one of the two vehicles, an SUV. He was flung off the flyover as his vehicle rolled over and rammed into other vehicles. Mankirat Singh was a student of plus one at New Public School in Chandigarh.
The other victim was Bhupinder Singh Thapa (21), a resident of Kaimbwala, who was on his way home from his college in Dera Bassi along with his friend Vijan Thapa on a motorcycle which was hit by Mankirat’s SUV. Vijan was injured.
The driver of the other vehicle, a Hyundai i20 with a Himachal Pradesh registration, although injured, fled the spot, leaving behind his damaged vehicle. He was identified as Sukhwinder Singh of Shimla from papers found in the car, although the insurance document had a Zirakpur address.
The incident occurred around 1.30 pm at a spot around 50 metres from where the flyover begins its descent towards Ambala (near the Dera Bassi MLA office). The Mitsubishi Pajero, driven by Mankirat, and the Hyundai i20 were seen racing down the flyover. Besides the two drivers, there was no one else in the vehicles.
“The Pajero was ahead of the i20 when it hit a pole on the divider, crossed over, rolled and landed on its side on an auto-rickshaw and a motorcycle going towards Chandigarh. The i20 also crossed over and rammed into another i20,’’ said Gaurav Garg, an eyewitness.
Under the impact of the SUV, a street-light pole was uprooted and flung off, and the autoickshaw and the motorcycle were left in a mangled mess.
“Some of us put the SUV back on its wheels and took out the victims who were stuck underneath in the crumpled vehicles. All of us went numb on seeing their condition,” said Garg.
There were three persons in the autorickshaw, including the driver, two on the motorcycle, and three persons in the Hyundai i20 going towards Chandigarh.
Mani, one of the injured, said, “The Pajero flipped over and hit the auto coming behind us while the i20 crossed over and hit our car.”
Mankirat was rushed to the Dera Bassi civil hospital, where he was declared brought dead. His parents, who arrived at the hospital from nearby Singhpura village, refused to confirm his age. A relative, however, said that Mankirat was a minor.
Other victims were rushed to GMCH-32 and PGI by passersby and the police. Bhupinder was declared brought dead at GMCH-32.
The injured included autodriver Amit Kumar, his passengers Pooja and Mohit, all residents of Zirakpur; motorcycle pillion rider Vijan Thapa, a resident of Sector 26; and three persons in the i20 who were discharged from the hospital. They were identified as Ankit, Mani and Milan, all residents of Patiala. While Milan suffered a fracture in one of the arms, the others suffered minor injuries.
Currently, Pooja, Mohit and Vijan are being treated at PGI while Amit is at GMCH-32.
Parminder Singh, a local who helped in the rescue, said that nobody was willing to come forward to help the victims. “The victims were lying unconscious but nobody stopped to rush them to hospital despite our repeated requests. They only stopped to witness the scene. A private ambulance had to be called from a nearby place,” he said. Another eyewitness said that the police took nearly half an hour to reach the spot.
One side of the flyover was closed for traffic in order to remove the damaged vehicles, leading to a traffic jam on the single carriageway.
The police registered a case of causing death by negligence and rash driving against Sukhwinder, who is absconding, on the complaint of Mani, one of the victims. Zirakpur SHO Deepinder Singh said, “We have found tyre marks all over the flyover confirming that the two cars were racing each other. Sukhwinder would be nabbed very soon.”