A Ford EcoSport driver, Nirmal Jose of Kochi, was arrested by the Kerala police for blocking the way of an ambulance carrying an ill, newborn baby. A video has surfaced, which shows Mr. Jose ahead of the ambulance, not allowing it to pass for an extended period of time. Here, watch it for yourself.
From the video, it appears that the EcoSport was indeed ahead of the ambulance, without ceding way, for an extended period of time. However, it’s unclear if the EcoSport delayed the ambulance given the fact that the SUV was much faster than the emergency vehicle.
The ambulance driver Madhu has alleged that Mr. Jose’s aggressive driving without allowing him to pass resulted in at least a 15 minute delay for him. The ambulance was taking a new born baby – who was having breathing difficulties – from a hospital in Perumbavoor to Kalamassery Medical College. Here’s the statement of the ambulance driver,
The vehicle, bearing the registration number KL 17 L 202 just stayed in front with its hazard lights on and did not let us pass. It took us about 35 minutes to reach Kalamassery as against the average time of 20 minutes.
Kerala police have charged Mr. Jose for rash and negligent driving. Mr. Jose, who was absconding, was later traced, arrested, and let-off. However, the EcoSport SUV that he was driving has been seized. Meanwhile, Aluva Joint RTO Mr. CS Ayyappan has said that he would issue directions to suspend the driving license of the Mr. Jose.
A show cause notice has been sent to the owner of the EcoSport, and a case has been registered for the violation of the motor vehicles act. Aluva circle inspector, Mr. Vishal, has made this statement,
We recorded his arrest. He claims that he was driving pilot for the ambulance. But we don’t think he is telling the truth. There were chances, when he could have let the ambulance go, but did not do so. We have booked him under IPC section 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way).
As the law stands, every driver must give free passage to fire service vehicles and ambulance by drawing to the side of the road. Failure to do so can result in the driver being slapped with a fine. However, this is not strictly implemented, and it’s common to see car and motorcycle drivers blocking the path of ambulances in India.