Pune: The bus driver who hurtled down the wrong side of several of Pune's busiest streets this morning, killing nine people and leaving 40 vehicles reduced to metallic rubble, may have been drunk.
The driver, 30-year-old Santosh Mane, has been arrested and charged with murder. He was most likely drunk according to team of three doctors who examined him at a Pune hospital this afternoon. Mr Mane also reportedly told the doctors that he has been undergoing psychiatric treatment.
At 8.15 this morning, Mr Mane, a driver with the state transport corporation for 11 years, drove away from the Swargate bus depot with an empty bus. The driver assigned to that bus had left the vehicle to collect some documents. Mr Mane steered the bus as if on a rampage, lurching through Pune's main streets, packed with morning commuters. Eyewitnesses say they flung schoolchildren out of his way. Several pedestrians were hit; 27 persons were rushed to hospital. Traffic marshals fired at the bus to force Mr Mane to stop. But it took a college student, Sharif Ibrahim Kutty, to finally stop the bus driver.
"I saw a bus approach a woman and a young child and it just crushed her and then kept going, dragging her with it," Mr Sharif said. "I got on my bike and I started chasing him. The police fired three rounds, but in vain. At a particular stage near a theatre, he lost control of the bus." Mr Sharif then clambered on board the bus and overpowered the driver.