Delhi: A late-night trip to Murthal for food turned tragic for a group of BTech students of Amity University after their SUV rammed a brick-laden tractor-trolley on NH-1on early Saturday morning. Three students were killed and seven others were injured. Police said they had to use gas cutters to extract the victims and survivors from the badly scrunched-up SUV.
Witnesses said the incident occurred around 2am near the Orchid and Trivoli farmhouse. The blue Scorpio, which was taken on rent from a car rental company, was driven at high speed while the tractor was being driven slowly and on the far left side of the road. The car drove in a zig-zag manner to avoid hitting other vehicles on the highway , but the speed was such that even after braking hard, Rajesh couldn't stop it.
The impact was such that half of the car went under the trolley while it overturned. A pile of bricks fell on the front of the car. Police found tyre marks stretching for nearly 20 metres that suggested that brakes were hit hard. Investigation also revealed that the tractor did not have a reflector or a lower under-rung protection device that is mandatory for goods vehicles in the capital. The driver fled the scene immediately after the accident.
Those killed were identified as Shikhar (22), Ujjwal (21) and Rajesh (24); those injured were Subham (21), Pranav Pandey (20), Vijay (20), Shubham (24), Reefat (21), Vanshika (20) and Pooja Mishra (21), and they were taken to a government hospital in outer Delhi. The three women were discharged after first aid while the rest were admitted. Later in the day , Shubham and Pandey were also discharged.
"I was driving towards Karnal from Rajouri Garden when I saw onlookers around the spot but no one had helped the youths. They were calling for help from the remains of the vehicle," said Paramanand Dubey , a passerby who informed the police about the accident. Dubey said the youths must have been trapped for almost 20 minutes before he called up the police.
Rajesh and Ujjwal had hired the car from a rental company around midnight and invited the others to join them for a drive to a popular parantha shop in Murthal. Rajesh drove the vehicle while Ujjwal and Shikhar sat behind him.
The three bodies were sent to a mortuary in Jahangirpuri and handed over to the families in the morning. Police said Rajesh and Shikhar were residents of Meerut, while Ujjwal was from Bhiwani. The youths were in BTech second year and stayed at rented accommodations around Sector 125 in Noida.
Mishra, who was from Chandigarh, had told her roommates about going to Sukhdev Dhaba with her college friends. "We had warned her about travelling long distance at night. On Saturday afternoon, we received a call from her about the accident. We don't know how seriously she was hurt," said Anju, a roommate who works at an MNC in Noida.
Savita Mehta, vice president (communications) of Amity Group, said she hadn't received information about the accident. "The university is closed due to holidays. We are trying to find out who those students are. Since the offices are closed, we have not been able to identify them yet," Mehta said.
DCP (outer) M N Tiwari said, "We have registered a case under sections of causing death due to negligence and rash and negligent driving against the tractor driver and efforts are being made to track him down. The tractor was found to be registered in Haryana."