14 killed as truck ploughs into villagers in Andhra

Nellore: In one of the worst accidents ever in the Rayalaseema region, 20 persons were killed and 15 others critically injured when a lorry ran over them at Yerpedu in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, on Friday afternoon.

The incident took place in Yerpedu market area under Srikalahasti division of the district, some 20 kilometres away from Tirupati. According to cops, the driver lost control of his vehicle and initially rammed into a auto first and then hit an electricity pole before bulldozing through the shops. Hospital sources suggest that the toll is likely to go up since some of the injured are in critical condition.

Police said that the truck driver lost control while trying to avoid collision with another vehicle and hit a electric pole and ran over roadside vendors at the busy Putalapatu-Naidupet junction.

The local Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has expressed grief over the deaths in Chittoor and ordered administration to help the victims. He directed the officials that the injured be extended necessary medical treatment, an official said here.

Meanwhile, tense situation is prevailing near Ruia hospital as relatives of the victims are thronging the hospital and demanding action against the driver.

The Andhra Pradesh government announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the deceased.

YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy has also condoled the loss of lives in the mishap.

Vanessa Coleman