VELLORE: WHEN a Pernambut-bound private bus from Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh stopped at the Venkatagiri Kota bus terminus in Chittoor on Thursday, the passengers started complaining about the snail's pace at which the vehicle had been driven for more than 15 minutes. They blamed the driver for the delay.
However, when the bus failed to move 30 minutes after the halt, they began searching for the driver, only to be told that he had died of a cardiac arrest. He had driven slowly and his last deed was to ensure the safety of the 35 passengers on board.
A Venkatesan (41), a resident of Erikuthi in Pernambut, was behind the wheel of the bus when moments after leaving Kuppam he began feeling uneasy. Kuppam circle-inspector M Rajasekhar told New Indian Express that Venkatesan informed the conductor that he was not feeling well. "However, he did not clearly state that he had chest pain. After developing the pain, he still managed to drive the bus till the terminus at a slow pace to avoid any mishap, saving about 30 passengers on the bus," Rajasekhar added.
The private bus service between Kuppam and Pernambut was managed twice a day by Raman Travels. According to Saravanan, one of the passengers, the bus started from Kuppam at 3 pm. The passengers did not find anything unusual initially. “However, after a while, the vehicle began to crawl at a snail's pace and halted at V Kota bus terminus,” he said.
Citing an eye-witness account, police officials said the driver got down from the bus and within a few minutes collapsed near a tea stall there. The conductor and a passerby took him to a private hospital in V Kota, but he was declared dead on arrival.
The body was sent to the Government Palamaner Hospital in Chittoor district for an autopsy. Venkatesan is survived by three sons and a daughter. While one of his sons is two-year-old, the other two sons and the daughter study at a private school in Pernambut.