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Pool car crash kills, injures
Student suffers multiple fractures

A speeding bus rammed into a flimsy pool car on Friday afternoon, killing its driver and critically injuring a Class IV student on a stretch of Jessore Road narrowed by illegally parked vehicles on both sides.

Abhijit Santra of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan School, Salt Lake, was the only student left in the Maruti Omni when the DN17 bus went berserk at Sahara Ghoshpara, near Birati.

It crashed into the car coming from the opposite direction and then hit the Tata Ace that it was trying to overtake. Shibkumar Biswas, 44, was killed on the spot. Abhijit, who was seated next to him, had to be extricated from the mangled heap of metal.

The boy from New Barrackpore is now in hospital with multiple fractures in his legs and stitches on his forehead. “He is stable,” said one of the doctors at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital.

When Abhijit was wheeled in around 2.15pm, “a bone near the toe was jutting out of the flesh”, said a police officer.

Abhijit’s mother, Mousumi, sat outside the emergency ward OT and wept, not a word on her lips. His father, Biswajit, a schoolteacher, ran around for the paperwork. The boy’s grandfather sobbed while comforting Mousumi.

Biswajit was in another hospital when the call from his son’s school came. “I had gone to see my mother at the ESI Hospital in Sealdah.”

Local people pulled Abhijit out of the car. “We prised open the door and brought him out. He was unconscious,” said Ranjit Saha, who works in a roadside garage. They got the school’s number from Abhijit’s I-card.

Seven or eight children — between Classes III and V — take the Omni to school. “On the way back, Abhijit is the last one to get down because he lives farthest,” said Tuhin Das, whose daughter returns by the same car. Class V student Tiyasha had missed school on Friday.

Mousumi started worrying around 2pm. “He returns home by 1.30pm, latest by 1.45,” she said after Abhijit was taken out of the OT and put on a bed. “I got very worried when he did not get back by 2.15 and I tried calling up Shivkumar, the driver. When he did not pick up the phone, I thought they must be close by.”

Witnesses said it was fortuitous that the car had a lone child. “The red Maruti Omni (WB 24 H 9934) was going past a bicycle, but because the road has been shrunk by the illegal parking, it was almost in the middle when the bus came headlong,” said a bystander.

The driver of the Tata Ace had tried to veer to the left to avoid the bus but witnesses said rows of parked vehicles prevented him from doing so.

“I could see the bus heading towards the Omni and hitting it. It also hit my vehicle, that overturned,” said Sankar Kumar Dutta, who escaped with bruises and broken beer bottles, from the consignment he was carrying to Calcutta.

Police said the driver and the conductor of the bus fled.

What about the illegal parking? “We conduct raids frequently,” said a senior officer of the Airport police station. Local residents could not remember any such raid.

The Omni was so badly damaged that it went up in flames while being towed away.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan principal Anindita Chatterjee said that since the school did not have its own transport it had to allow parents to choose their mode. “But we issue a notice asking them to check the condition of the pool cars, especially the tyres,” she added.

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