Road to dusty death
Accident at Athuruwella - stark reminder of danger on the highways:
horrible road accident that occurred at the Athuruwella bridge Bentota
last week killing eight persons was a shocking revelation of how
hazardous our highways have become these days.
It shows the reckless driving patterns of our present day chauffeurs
who drive under the influence of liquor. It shows the callous attitude
of motorists speeding on highways without any respect for other users.
Motorists perhaps may have noticed a common slogan displayed at
police stations which reads as “Speed thrills but kills.” But ironically
how many of our motorists adhere to such advice.
The highways today have become veritable death zones due to speeding
under influence of liquor. The highways have also become race tracks for
motorists for obvious reasons.
The tragic accident which occurred last Saturday at the Athuruwella
bridge around 5.30. p.m. was a stark reminder of impending danger on
highways. The accident was a result of head on collision of a van with a
private a bus at a bend.
The van driven at excessive speed had ploughed into the bus
travelling towards Ambalangoda that killed eight persons in the van and
injuring scores of people travelling in the bus.
OIC Bentota Police Station, Inspector Duminda Rajapakse told the
Sunday Observer how a person in the van escaped while being seated in
the front seat while eight persons including a child and the driver
became victims of the accident.
He said the van driver who travelled at break neck speed towards
Colombo had failed to negotiate the bend at the Athuruwella bridge and
had rammed his vehicle to the on coming bus.
“The van driver was most probably driving under the influence of
liquor. He was responsible for the tragic deaths.” He said the bus
driver was helpless when the van travelling at high speed ploughed into
The OIC further said four members of the same family died with four
other person in the van also died. The deceased of the ill fated van was
identified as B. Jayanethi (50) his brother S. Jayanethi, Sujith
Chintaka (17) Ananda Saman (50) Gihan Nayanajith (19) Himesh Chaturanga
(10) and Anton Fernando (24). The eighth person succumbed to his
injuries last Wednesday.
Several residents of the area flocked to the scene to get a glimpse
of the ghastly accident after hearing the tragic news. Nineteen
passengers who travelled in the private bus also sustained grievous
injuries and were admitted to Balapitiya, Nagoda and the Bentota
Some of them were transferred to the Colombo National Hospital as
their condition was serious. However according to police most persons
have been discharged from hospitals. The tragedy occurred on Saturday
evening around 5.30.p.m. when four persons of the same family together
with friends travelled to Induruwa in a van to attend a funeral.
When they subsequently discovered the remains had been removed to the
Induruwa cemetery for internment they sped in the vehicle to the
cemetery to mark their presence. The mishap took place while they were
on their way to the cemetery.
Two brothers of the same family and a child aged 10 died in the
deadly crash. One of the deceased brothers had been an administrative
officer in a private company at Athidiya, Ratmalana. They had all gone
to Induruwa that day to attend a funeral of their bosses relative. The
autopsy examination report says that all eight persons had died due to
A few months ago a car driven at excessive speed along the Old
Kottawa road veered off the road and ploughed into a SLCTB bus parked at
the entrance to the Udahamulle SLTB depot road, Nugegoda, killing its
driver and critically injuring a passenger seated behind. Another
passenger who was seated in the front seat escaped without injuries.
According to OIC Traffic Mirihana Police, Sub Inspector R.K.
Ratnasinghe the accident had occurred around 3.45 a.m. on a Saturday,
while the car was travelling from Nugegoda towards Maharagama. The
deceased was identified later as one Terrance Seneviratne (23) an
employee of a private company.
The critically injured person was admitted to the National Hospital
Colombo. Inspector Ratnasinghe said the Toyota vehicle was a complete
wreck following the accident with its hood ripped off. The impact was so
severe that a 7000 ton SLCTB parked bus was pushed several feet away.
Speeding was the main reason for the accident, the OIC said.
Last year a popular film and television actress’s car collided head
on with a on coming passenger bus critically injuring the film actress
on Colombo - Kandy road at Imbulgoda junction. The actress who sustained
grievous bodily injuries was rushed to the Ragama hospital and was later
transferred to the Incentive Care Unit (ICU).
The accident occurred at Balummahara on March 14 around 5.30 when she
was rushing to Kurunegala from Colombo for a Television filming event.
Her car was reduced to matchwood following the accident.
However her chauffeur escaped miraculously with minor injuries.
Police said her chauffeur was at fault for driving the vehicle at an
excessive speed. Fortunately the actress recovered after undergoing
treatment for several months at the Colombo National Hospital.
It had been found the temptation to speed occurs when people are
under the influence of liquor. Modern vehicles driven at high speeds
have also become lethal weapons in the hands of drunken and reckless
How many innocent pedestrians would have been killed this year due to
drunken and hit and run drivers? The statistics are frightening indeed.
According to traffic police motorists too have become an impatient lot
due to several pressures.
“Every one seemed to be in a mighty hurry to get to their destination
breaking all traffic rules and regulations,” he said. A Senior police
officer attributed fatal motor accidents to high excessive speeding and
reckless driving. He said it also happens when motorists do not obey
traffic rules and regulations. Consumption of liquor and negligence are
to be blamed,” he said.