Mumbai: A 58-year-old woman, the chief executive officer (CEO) of a technology company, and an avid jogger, died on her morning run early on Sunday morning, after being hit by a speeding car at a spot along the Worli promenade, near the Worli Milk Dairy premises.
The 23-year-old driver of the speeding vehicle, Sumer Merchant, was reportedly on his way to drop off two friends who live in the suburbs, when he allegedly lost control of the wheel.
The vehicle was being driven at a speed of 120km/hr
The vehicle, which was being driven at 120 km/hour, first hit the victim and then rammed into a divider, according to Worli Police. The jogger, Rajalakshmi Ramakrishnan, was flung almost 20 feet away, resulting in her death on the spot.
Rajalakshmi had been a regular jogger for the past 17 years. She, along with her husband Vijay, and her friends from the Shivaji Park Joggers’ Group, would run from the NCPA at Nariman Point–Girgaum Chowpatty–Worli Sea Face, ending at Shivaji Park in Dadar. The Mahalakshmi Racecourse also figures on the joggers’ route at times.
Locals alerted on-duty cops minutes away from accident spot
According to the Worli police, around 6.30am, locals alerted the on-duty police officers at a nakabandi, minutes away from the accident spot. Merchant, who was driving a Tata Nexon EV, allegedly lost control of his speeding car and hit Rajalakshmi, who was running on the northbound side. She was flung into the air and tossed almost 20 feet away, which caused her instant death, sources said.
After hitting the victim, the vehicle then rammed into a divider before coming to a halt. The entire vehicle, including the windshield and doors, was in a shattered state.
Runners stopped driver, friends and handed them to cops
Other runners on the spot immediately stopped the driver of the vehicle and the two others in it and handed them over to the police, who took them to the police station for questioning.
Rajalakshmi was first taken to Nair Hospital by the police, where she was declared dead before arrival by the doctors. Later, the body was taken to Podar Hospital for post mortem, police said.
Cops book driver for rash driving, will be produced before Dadar court today
A case has been registered against the accused under sections 304 (causing the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code and 184 (driving dangerously) of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Police have also recorded statements of all eyewitnesses, while also currently examining the CCTV footage of the spot where the accident occurred. The vehicle of the accused has been sent to the RTO for further inspection. Merchant was scheduled to be produced before the Dadar court on Monday, for remand in police custody.
Minutes before she was killed, Rajalakshmi had been running with friend
“Raji (as Rajalakshmi is referred to by her friends and family) has been running continuously for some months now, so today (Sunday) was her short-run, warm-up kind of day. On this short run, she was running from Haji Ali to Shivaji Park, which is an 8km run,” a close friend and her coach told the FPJ, on condition of anonymity.
He continued, “She and I ran together till Haji Ali. After that, I moved towards the direction of Chowpatty and she proceeded towards Worli. We split up near the Atria Mall (located in Lotus Colony, Worli) and seven or eight minutes later, I learnt about the accident.”
Deceased's friend days many youngsters drive rashly at the spot
“Because of the coastal road project, the road where the incident occurred has already been narrowed down. Every weekend, especially Sunday mornings, there are many youngsters seen driving rashly, returning after their Saturday night partying,” said Preeti Sompura, a journalist and a friend of the deceased who witnessed the unfortunate incident.
She further added, “She (victim) was in the Shivaji Park (joggers’) group, while I am in the Juhu group. We have known each other for a long time, as runners. The already narrow road due to the coastal road project needs some strict supervision, as these drunk youngsters are causing a life-threatening ruckus for people.”
Senior police inspector said blood samples have been sent to forensics
Meanwhile, Senior Police Inspector Anil Koli of Worli Police confirmed that blood samples of the accused driver had been sent to forensics and a report was awaited. No alcohol was detected by the breathalyser test, police said. However, in the event of alcohol having been imbibed the evening or night before, blood samples were drawn for testing.