THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Motorists who pulled in to the site of the accident that killed a speeding young man and injured three others at Kowdiar late on Thursday found it a blood-curdling sight: a luxury car mangled beyond redemption, victims who suffered heavy injuries, blood that spilled over to the road and red flip-flops and blood-stained squeeze balls that lay abandoned. Then there were small pieces of the concrete antique lamp post that the car crushed seen as far as 75 metres and a post-box fixed on concrete seen ripped off ground. A tree stood nearly skinned testifying the recklessness that triggered accident.
Adarsh, 20, son of hotelier P. Subramanian and Vanaja of Subhash Nagar, Vallakkadavu, was at the wheels. He was overtaking a white BMW with his new Skoda Octavia RS when he lost control over its wheels at a curve near Cafe Coffee by 11 pm.
He was doing the overtaking manoeuvre on the middle lane when the car brushed against an autorickshaw moving slowly on left track. The auto driver, Saji Kumar, 42, of Pappanamcode escaped with minor injuries.
Three of Adarsh’s friends seated on the vehicle were injured. The seriously injured Gauri Laks-hmi Subramaniam, daug-hter of Mahesh Subram-anian, and Ananya, were admitted to a private hospital. The third occupant Shilpa of Ernakulam suffered only minor injuries and was admitted in the Government Medical College Hospital.
Adarsh was heir to a business group that owns a prominent four star hotel in the capital. He had completed his graduation at Glasgow University and was long-time friends with the injured women.
“We are not sure whether he was actually involved in a racing,” said city police commissioner P. Prakash. “There was no footage of the accident but they were spotted in cameras placed a few meters away. A probe is underway to find the other car.”
Lax enforcement makes Kowdiar death hotspot
In a knee-jerk reaction, the city police has sworn to deploy interceptors on Vellayambalam-Kowdiar stretch that has been infamous for drag racing, rash driving and related protests from time to time. Vellayambalam-Kowdiar road and the Chackai– Shangumugham stretch has been infamous for drag races since 2010. Accident and deaths were being consistently reported between 2010 and 2012. Following this, youth organisations had bashed up some bikers here. Once police cracked the whip and the accidents had down.
However, over the past two years, reckless driving involving posh cars have shot up in the area. It is pertinent to note that in 2011, the Kerala Road Safety Authority installed a static camera with speed sensor here. Over half a decade down the line, no one report to have received speed tickets from this camera and local police was not sure whether it works. The residents of areas such as Devasom Board and Kowdiar claim that hardly any police patrol happens at nights when posh cars are out on the prowl. Off late, the checking was mostly limited to helmet hunt during the day time.
“We will deploy interceptors and fine speeding vehicles now. Police presence will be ensured in the area,” said city police commissioner P. Prakash. Though putting up barricades were on the cards, the city police has decided not to follow it up fearing possible legal issue. “It’s a major stretch and we can’t put barricades here,” the commissioner added. On Friday, DYFI Palayam block committee organised a safety awareness programme at Kowdiar named ‘What’s the hurry’.
Citizens live in fear as new cars are ‘Tested’
Some citizens living near Kowdiar claim that they fear for their life each time they ride down the Vellayambalam road. Youngsters say on Sundays new luxury car owners test their limits within this 2 km stretch. “Bike stunts do not exist like before. However, despite numerous breaks on the median, cars tend to pick up high speed on the right most lanes here. This threatens two-wheeler riders and pedestrians turning towards Jawahar Nagar, Devasom Board Road and Golf course road,” said Anoop S.M. a resident of Vellayam-balam.
The youth also pointed out that several vehicles parked illegally on left lane despite ‘No stopping’ boards. This gives less room for car drivers in a hurry. Divakaran Nair, an elderly man on a morning walk said those who drive rash abuse him if he tries to correct them. “Children in our family also are to be blamed just like the boy who drove the car. I tell them to find other ways to die because pedestrians like me are also at risk when they involve in rash driving. If you try to scold such guys on road they will even stop and verbally abuse us,” he said.