Don’t know his name but can easily identify him if I see him — eyewitness to last Thursday’s accident in Egmore tells Vivek Narayanan and Aloysius Xavier Lopez
On Tuesday, The Hindu tracked down a key eyewitness in last week’s Mercedes-Benz speeding case.
He gave an account of the accident, which has claimed the life of 13-year-old Muniraj and left his cousin battling for life.
R. Rajesh, who was present at the spot on that fateful day, insisted the man at the wheel of the Merc was wearing an orange-coloured T-shirt and an earring.
Rajesh claimed that as soon as the Merc ploughed into its unsuspecting victims, he rushed to nab the driver. He said he did not know the driver’s name, but would be able to identify him.
“He had short hair and was of medium build. Two persons in the car ran away soon after the accident. But I can easily identify the driver if I see him,” said Rajesh.
Around 1 a.m. on Thursday, Rajesh, a local Youth Congress functionary, was waiting with his friends at the Egmore hospital bus stop. They had come to the hospital because the pregnant wife of one of the friends was admitted there.
“After visiting the hospital, we had had a few drinks. We then gathered near the bus stop: two of my friends were seated inside an autorickshaw, while I stood by, smoking a cigarette. That is when a car whizzed past,” said Rajesh.
The car’s left wheel climbed over the pavement and came to a halt after ramming an autorickshaw parked a few feet away. The right wheel ran over children who were sleeping by the roadside near the bus stop. Before running over the children, the Merc hit a police patrol vehicle. Rajesh and his friends rushed to rescue the injured.
“I tried to pull the driver out of the vehicle, but the inflated air bag made it difficult for me to do so. We had to deflate it before pulling the driver out. He was drunk and I thrashed him for running over the kids. My friends joined in. We handed him over to the police. Around 50 persons gathered on the spot,” said Rajesh, who spoke to TV channels about the incident as soon as the cameras had arrived.
Rajesh’s statement has been recorded in the FIR filed at D-6 Anna Square police station.
Rajesh said that but for his friends, he would have ended up under the car’s wheels. “A few minutes before the accident, I went to sit on a stool at the bus stop and smoke a cigarette. My friends dissuaded me, saying that would disturb the children sleeping nearby. And, all of us moved towards the autorickshaw.”
Minutes later, the Merc missed him by a whisker.