Two persons, including a police sub-inspector, were killed when a drunk 27-year-old woman lost control of her SUV and rammed their vehicles in Mumbai, around 12.15 a.m. on Saturday.
Those killed are sub-inspector Dinanath Shinde (40) and Ajzal Ibrahim Maknejia (35). Four other police officers Shailesh Jhadhav (40), Magan Gaikwad (51), Ashok Shinde (41) and Lala Shivram Shinde (52) were injured. Mr. Jadhav is in the intensive care unit.
Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) told journalists here on Saturday that driver Nooriya Yousuf Haveliwala was heavily under the influence of alcohol. A little past midnight, her speeding car first hit a taxi, then the police Qualis, finally crashing into Mr. Maknejia’s motorcycle.
The police team had been conducting their routine checks for drunken driving. The police have sent the car, which is in a smashed condition, for forensic examination. Ms. Haveliwala’s blood tests are awaited.
Nandkumar Chaugule, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Traffic, said Ms. Haveliwala’s breathalyser test immediately after the incident showed a staggering amount of alcohol at 457 mg per 100 ml. The permissible limit under the Motor Vehicle Act is 30 mg per 100 ml of blood.
Two empty beer cans and a glass were recovered from the car. “We suspect she also consumed drugs. We are checking her background. She was in the U.S. for some time. We would be writing to the U.S. Embassy to find out if she had any [history] of drug abuse, if she was in rehabilitation and was convicted for any [drug-related] offence,” Mr. Chaugule said.
He said the car could have been speeding at about 100 km/hour. “The impact of collision was so huge that everyone suffered multiple fractures, waist down.”
The police said Ms. Haveliwala is a beautician residing in Colaba, south Mumbai. Her father, Major Yousuf Haveliwala, in whose name the car is registered, is a practising psychiatrist. At the time of the incident, Ms. Haveliwala, who has a valid licence, was heading home from the Opera House.
An offence under the Indian Penal Code Sections 304 (for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 297 (for rash driving), 337 (for causing hurt), and Sections 184 and 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act (for driving dangerously and under the influence of drugs) has been registered against Ms. Haveliwala. On Saturday, she was remanded to police custody till February 5.
Mr. Roy expressed regret over the loss of an officer of the force. He said the Mumbai Traffic police would continue their campaign against drunken driving.
“A strong lesson needs to be learnt from this incident. We will try our best for the severest punishment. We will be requesting the government to tighten laws on drunk driving.”