Three women from India killed in US car crash; their Gujarat village holds prayer meeting

PTI, Apr 27, 2024, 5:23 PM IST

Anand / New York: Three women originally hailing from Gujarat’s Anand district and settled in the United States were killed in a deadly car crash in the US state of South Carolina, their relatives here said on Saturday.

The accident occurred on Friday on the Staunton Bridge Road along Interstate 85 near Lakeside Road, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers, said a media report. The overspeeding car jumped at least 20 feet in the air before crashing into trees, it said.

Relatives in Gujarat have identified the three as Rekha Dilip Patel, Sangita Bhavnesh Patel and Manisha Rajendra Patel. They belonged to Vasna (Borsad) and Kavitha villages in Borsad taluka of the state’s Anand district.

The women were also related, they said. 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 here.

He said Sangita never returned to India after moving there nearly 20 years ago. His son had come here a few months ago for his marriage-related shopping, said Vitthalbhai.

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 accident victims were travelling in an SUV, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Mike Ellis from the Greenville County Coroner’s Office, Fox Carolina reported.

He said the vehicle 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. It then went through some trees on the other side and down an embankment, he added.

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

“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.”

According to the report, 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.

Ellis said the car was found in pieces and added that no other vehicle was involved in the accident.

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 WYFF reported.

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

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

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