The driver who was arrested by the Khalapur Police on Monday for his alleged role in the accident that killed 27 and injured 26 on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway may have fallen asleep while driving,the police said.
Police sources said preliminary medical reports of the driver do not indicate that he had consumed alcohol. However,blood sample reports of the accused are awaited,they said.
Around 12.15 am,Somnath Phadtare (23),a resident of Sultanwadi village in Satara district,is alleged to have rammed his truck into one of the buses carrying the wedding entourage. Medical reports indicate he may not have been drunk. However,blood sample reports of Phadtare are awaited. At this juncture,we feel that Phadtare may have lost control of the truck after sleeping while driving his vehicle, said Superintendent of Police (Raigad) R D Shinde.
In his police statement,Phadtare has said he was on his way from Ulhasnagar in Mumbai to Kolhapur. Phadtare was transporting parcels when the accident took place.
He claims that he had driven his vehicle throughout the night on Saturday and had reached his destination around 11 am on Sunday. He left again the same night at 10 pm and the accident took place two hours later. There is a possibility that he may not have had adequate sleep and may have dozed off, said Shinde.
Phadtare has also allegedly admitted that he was speeding. He has confessed to have been speeding. However,there are a few discrepancies in his statement. He claims that he was blocked by a bus and had to take the serviceway. Witnesses,though,have said all three lanes were free when the accident took place. He also claims that his brakes had failed. We feel he is lying and are probing those angles, said Shinde. The police have also learnt that there was no cleaner with Phadtare. Usually,if a cleaner is present,he ensures that the driver does not sleep, said Shinde.