Victims hospitalised on International Women’s Day and during Pedestrian Safety Month
It couldn’t have been more ironic: on International Women’s Day and during the Pedestrian Safety Month, a reckless bus driver knocked down three women pedestrians while they were crossing the road at the traffic signal near Johnson Market in the city on Friday around 12.30 p.m.
The women, two of them senior citizens, were returning from the church with two other women when the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus ploughed into them. They were rushed to St. Philomena’s Hospital with serious injuries. The injured are Annamma (75), Kunjamma (60) and Jesy Jose (26), all close relatives.
SUV first, then women
Eyewitnesses said Route No.340 first rammed an SUV that had stopped at the traffic light before mowing down the pedestrians. The bus passengers and those in the car escaped unhurt. The eyewitnesses said the bus driver was tearing away unmindful of the red light though Ashok Nagar traffic police said it was a brake failure.
“The bus (KA 01 F 4983) was being driven recklessly. The other two women barely managed to escape,” said Muneer, eyewitness.
Ms. Annamma, the oldest victim, has fractured her right thigh and pelvis and has been admitted to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU). The hospital said she will have to undergo surgery.
Ms. Kunjamma and Ms. Jose, who were sustained injuried in the scalp and face, are under observation. A CT scan of the former’s brain showed no abnormality, said Medical Superintendent Shankar.
‘Light turned red’
All the women are residents of Ragavendra Colony, BTM Layout. Narrating what happened, Ms. Jose said from her hospital bed: “We were crossing the road after the light turned red for vehicles. Suddenly, I heard some sound and the next thing I knew was that I was screaming in pain. I don’t remember anything after that and I don’t even know how my mother-in-law Kunjamma and my aunt Annama are doing.”
Though a traffic constable posted at the junction claimed the bus driver fled, Fr. James Kuttikandan of St. Gregorios Orthodox Cathedral, who said he witnessed the accident, has a different story. “The three women came to attend the afternoon prayer at our church. I saw what happened: I assure you the driver did not run away. The traffic police was trying to protect him [from public anger]. But we stopped the bus and went to the station to file the complaint, where even the bus driver was present. This was no fault of the car driver as he had stopped at the signal, but the police are trying to frame him.”
Several witnesses said there was no police manning the junction. Instead, they had positioned themselves at the extreme corner of the road. The Ashok Nagar police have seized both the car and the bus but are yet to file a complaint against the bus driver.
Traffic was disrupted for a while after the accident.