Six killed in multi-vehicle collision on Mumbai-Pune Expressway

Four injured; NMMC veterinary doctor, family among deceased

Six people, including a veterinary doctor and his family, were killed and four others sustained injuries in a collision of multiple vehicles on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in the early hours of Tuesday.

According to the police, a little after midnight on Monday, a heavy container vehicle coming towards Mumbai on the second lane lost control and rammed into an Innova which was ahead of it. Dr. Vaibhav Zunjare (41), a veterinary doctor with the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and his family, were travelling in the Innova, which got sandwiched between the container and the road divider. The container further dashed into a Creta car and then toppled after hitting a tempo.

Zunjare, his mother Usha Vasant Zunjare (63), wife Vaishali Vaibhav Zunjare (38), and five-year-old daughter Shriya, died on the spot. His 11-year-old son Arnav who was in the middle of the rear seat has survived with multiple fractures and is in a critical condition at Apollo Hospital. Manju Prakash Nahar (58), a resident of Goregaon (West), who was in the Creta, also died on the spot. The cleaner of the container, Kaluram Jamnaji Jaat, succumbed to injuries during treatment at Ashtavinayak Hospital in New Panvel.

The others injured in the accident were Swapnil Sonaji Kamble (30) and Prakash Hemraj Nahar (65), residents of Goregaon (West), who were travelling in the Creta, along with the container’s driver Kishan Chaudhary. Mr. Chaudhary has been severely injured.

“One tyre of the container was found to have burst. It is difficult to say if the burst caused the accident or the tyre burst during the mishap,” an officer from Khopoli police station said.

When the pandemic broke out, Zunjare had dropped his parents, wife, and children at their home town in Solapur. His father, Vasant Zunjare, is a retired police inspector. The family along with Zunjare’s brother and his family stayed at the NMMC’s staff quarters in Sector 15, Nerul.

“A perfect joint family is what they were. He didn’t want to risk the health of his elderly parents and children and thus he had asked them to stay at Solapur. He was infected with COVID-19 and recovered. A few months ago, he had got his wife and children back to Navi Mumbai but since the schools were yet to physically open and the children started missing their grandparents, he again dropped them back,” a colleague of Zunjare said.

On Friday, the colleague said, Zunzare went to Solapur to get them back and they started from there on Monday. “His father who had stayed back at Solapur has now come here to be with his grandson in the hospital,” the colleague said.

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