In the wee hours of Monday, an auto rickshaw driver in Chennai was killed and 10 others injured after a Porsche rammed into 12 parked auto rickshaws in RK Salai in the city.
Behind the wheels of the Porsche Cayman S was 22-year-old Vikash Anand, a racer and a student from Chennai. According to reports, the driver who was allegedly drunk, hit a median and lost control. While Vikash has been booked for death due to negligence and sent to judicial custody, 29-year-old auto driver, Arumugam, died at the General Hospital in Chennai soon after the accident.
Not only was Arumugam’s life cut too short, his 7-year-old daughter has now been orphaned. His wife and younger daughter had allegedly committed suicide four months ago, leaving him and his older child behind.
"I don't know what answer to give his daughter. How can we take care of this girl - she has no mother or father now. What's the value of a life? If they give me money can I give an answer to his daughter? His auto is so damaged, it's only fit to be thrown into the garbage," Vinayak, brother of Arumugam told TNM.
Mangled remains of the auto
Another victim of the accident is lying in a hospital in critical condition, battling for his life.
Vijayan, an auto driver who witnessed what happened said, "The accident happened around 3 am. We heard a loud sound and woke up. There were around 20 autos parked there. We belong to the Egmore auto stand. But because of the mosquitos we sleep on Cathedral Road. We have been sleeping at this spot for 5 years."
Ravi who has been driving an auto in Chennai city for the last fifteen years says, "It all happened so fast and since the Chief Minister's residence is near, there are police personnel around. My auto's windshield was shattered, though it was last in the line. By the time I recovered and came to see what happened, police had already taken the driver away," he said.
Vikash, who is an F1600 category racer, had recently won two races at the MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Racing Championship held in the city. He had just returned to racing after an 18-month hiatus from the sport.
That victory also resulted in a scholarship for him in the USA and participation in the Mazda Road to Indy championship in December.
Incidentally, Vikash is the third driver to qualify for the $200,000 Scholarship Shootout.
Following the twin victories, the racer was all set for the impending season in the MRF Challenge after a lacklustre show in the past two seasons.
He had finished second MRF Challenge- Formula 1600 in 2013 and JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing Championship Formula Rolon in 2010 and had a podium percentage of 9.7% till 2015.
The son of a former high court lawyer, Vikash had taken to motorsport at an early age. He idolised the likes of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna and was keen on moving out of the country in search for better facilities.
Soon after the incident on Monday morning, Vikash was arrested by the city police. Another man injured by his car is critical and fighting for his life in the hospital.