A first-year-student of St Xavier’s College died after the SUV she was travelling in, and which was being driven by her friend, hit the kerbside railing while turning left from Syed Amir Ali Avenue to Gurusaday Dutt Road in south Kolkata and then hit a milk van coming from the opposite direction early on Monday.
Jayantika Jhunjhunwala, 18, who was on the left rear seat, was declared dead at Belle Vue Clinic, police said.
The car had four people, all teenagers.
Belle Vue officials said the young man in the front passenger seat had four displaced ribs and fractured his right upper arm. The one at the wheel suffered nose and right foot injuries.
The fourth, a girl who was next to Jayantika, has been discharged from hospital. “She is okay,” said a man in the house who refused to identify himself when The Telegraph called.
The boy in the front passenger seat studies outside Kolkata. The other three are from the same college. This newspaper is not naming them because some could be minors. The police blamed speeding for the crash. The SUV — a Volkswagen Taigun — was entering Gurusaday Dutt Road from Amir Ali Avenue around 12.30am on Monday when the accident happened, said an officer.
“We have not found any CCTV footage of the accident. According to eyewitness accounts, the crash was caused by speeding. The car was moving at a high speed and that apparently led to the accident,” said deputy commissioner (traffic) Sunil Yadav.
In the absence of video footage, the police said, it was not clear whether the milk van had switched lanes and entered the right flank, which is meant for vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.
“Going by the condition of both vehicles, it seems the Volkswagen Taigun, while turning left to enter Gurusaday Dutt Road from Amir Ali Avenue, first hit the railing on the left. The teenager at the wheel then tried to steer past the milk van that was coming from the opposite direction, but the left side of the car hit the left of the van,” said an officer of Ballygunge police station.
“It is unclear whether the milk van had switched lanes. But the crash could have been avoided had the car not been speeding.”
The police have started a case under Section 304 (Part -II) of the IPC against the person who was driving the SUV. “The person at the wheel was not intoxicated,” deputy commissioner Yadav said.
The Amir Ali Avenue-Gurusaday Dutt Road crossing is a busy crossroads during the day, but not so after the evening rush hours.
The lack of a median divider on Gurusaday Dutt Road makes it accident-prone. “Vehicles often jump lanes when they find the stretch empty, without realising that a speeding vehicle could be approaching from the Amir Ali Avenue crossing,” said an officer.
Jayantika’s teachers at Modern High School for Girls, from where she did her schooling, described her as a girl with a “marvellous voice”, who would always be the lead singer in school programmes.
“She was a bright, smiling girl... hugely talented but extremely humble,” said Damayanti Mukherjee, principal of the school.
Jayantika, who scored 97.5 per cent in her ISC, was also involved with an NGO that works with children with special needs.