• Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Fatal crash claims lives of three Gujarati women in US

The victims were identified as Rekha Dilip Patel, Sangita Bhavnesh Patel and Manisha Rajendra Patel

Representative image: iStock

By: Pramod Thomas

THREE Indian women from Gujarat were killed on the spot in a deadly crash in South Carolina, US, when their overspeeding car veered out of control before jumping at least 20 feet in the air and crashing into trees, authorities said.

The accident occurred on Friday (26) at noon on the Staunton Bridge Road along Interstate 85 near Lakeside Road, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers, Fox News Carolina reported.

The three women were travelling in the SUV speeding in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85, chief deputy coroner Mike Ellis from the Greenville county coroner’s office said.

Hailing originally from Gujarat’s Anand district and settled in the US, the three women were identified as Rekha Dilip Patel, Sangita Bhavnesh Patel and Manisha Rajendra Patel by relatives in Anand.

They belonged to Vasna (Borsad) and Kavitha villages in the Borsad taluka of the state’s Anand district.

According to relatives, the three women were related. The husbands of Rekha and Sangita — Dilip Patel and Bhavnesh Patel, respectively — are brothers, while Manisha’s husband Rajendra is a cousin of the two men.

Except for Sangita’s father, Vitthalbhai, who lives near Kavitha village, all other family members of the three women and their husbands had shifted to the US long back.

“I have learnt that my daughter and two other women have died in a road accident on Friday in the US. A fourth woman, also a relative, has been admitted to a hospital there. They were going for an outing,” Vitthalbhai Patel told reporters in Anand.

He said Sangita never returned to India after moving there nearly 20 years ago.

His son had come to Gujarat a few months ago for his marriage-related shopping, said Vitthalbhai.

The vehicle they were travelling in left the roadway on the right-hand shoulder, ran up the embankment, went through the cement bridge embankment, and jumped completely over all four lanes of traffic, according to chief deputy coroner Ellis.

It then went through some trees on the other side of the roadway and down an embankment, Ellis said.

“When the vehicle jumped all four lanes of traffic, it actually struck trees probably at least 20 feet above the ground,” he was quoted as saying.

“It’s obvious that they were travelling above the posted speed limit and for some reason left the roadway,” Ellis said, adding, “Unsure exactly why at this time.”

Officers confirmed that three passengers died at the scene. Ellis said the victims were from Georgia.

They said that the injured driver was hospitalised, but their current condition is unknown.

Niranjan Patel, a resident of Vasna (Borsad), said a prayer meeting was organised in their village for the three women.

“Rekhaben and Sangitaben used to live with their husbands in Atlanta, Georgia and were going towards South Carolina when the accident occurred. The villagers expressed grief during the prayer meeting,” said Niranjan Patel.

The car was found in pieces, and no other vehicle was involved in the accident, according to Ellis.

He said the vehicle had alerted some family members of the victims that it had been involved in a crash, who were headed to the area as of Friday afternoon, local television channel reported.

Investigations are underway to find out how fast the car might have been going, according to reports.

South Carolina Highway Patrol, Gannt Fire and Rescue and multiple Greenville County EMS units responded to the scene.


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