Fourteen-year-old Umesh Sau, a resident of Howrah, was busy cheering Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday evening. By Monday afternoon, he was dead.
The teenager was crushed under the wheels of a giant oil tanker, while rushing back home to catch the start of the final day’s play of the final Test between India and England.
Sources said the accident occurred when the tanker was trying to overtake a Maruti on Andul Road and mounted a footpath, running over Umesh.
The driver of the tanker tried to escape with the vehicle but seeing the Maruti driver and bystanders behind him, deserted the vehicle and fled the spot. Passersby rushed Umesh to a local hospital, where he was declared dead.
A pall of gloom descended on the Ramkrishnapalli neighbourhood as soon as news of the accident reached the area. Neighbours and relatives flocked to the Saus’ residence.
Umesh was a student of Class VIII in the nearby Bishnu Janta School, at Podhra. According to his friends, he was excited about the ongoing cricket series and had even won a bet with a classmate over Rahul Dravid’s double century. “On Monday, Sau was, as usual, discussing cricket and gushing about Tendulkar and Dravid,” recalls classmate Robin.
As soon as school got over at 1.40 pm, Umesh rushed out with his friends to catch the match on television. Sources said at that time, traffic on Andul Road was heavy, “as it is the main link between Vidyasagar Setu and the National Highway”.
“We waited for five minutes for the traffic to clear before crossing the road,’’ a friend of Umesh told the police on Monday. “We saw the Maruti from a distance but figured out that we could cross the road by the time it reached us. We did not see the tanker behind the Maruti,” said the friend. He added: “Umesh was the first to cross the road and reach the pavement on the other side. Then we saw the tanker overtaking the Maruti on the wrong side and mount the footpath. Before we realised anything, Umesh was crushed to death.’’
Howrah police superintendent Rajesh Kumar said the tanker was impounded and brought to the local police station. A hunt has been launched for the driver.