Four peopled died and six others injured in a road accident at Palasamudram crossroads on NH-44 as lorry hit an auto on Monday.
According to Gorantla SI Chinna Sattaiah, the auto was going to Hindupur from Gorantla on Monday morning when it was hit by a lorry coming from Bangalore on the national highway.
Four persons died on the spot and six others were severely injured in the mishap.
The condition of two of the injured including the auto driver Adinarayana was said to be critical.
The deceased have been identified as Shobarani (40), a school teacher from Balannagraipalle village in Gorantla mandal, Sakali Venkata Swamy (45), Gorantla mandal headquarters, Fatima (40) and Valli (15), residents of Gopindepalli village in Lepakshi mandal.
The injured were identified as auto driver Adinarayana, Babu John, Nallamada, Jabbar, Laxmipathi Sakalai Uttappa and Srinivasulu.
All the injured were shifted to Penugonda government hospital where the doctors advised Adinarayana and Laxmipathi to be shifted to Anantapur hospital as their condition turned critical.
Meanwhile, some locals under the banner of Jana Vignana Vedika staged a protest at Gorantla mandal headquarters demanding an ex gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh each to the families of the deceased saying all of them belong to poor families.
JVV leader Sriramulu demanded the government to build an overbridge at Palasamudram crossroads to help villagers cross the road safely as accidents on this stretch were becoming a common occurrence.
Lorry driver Ravi, a native of Tami Nadu, tried to flee from the scene after hitting the passenger auto, but stopped after noticing a highway patrolling vehicle. Later Ravi surrendered before the police.
The bodies were sent for postmortem. A case has been registered and further investigation is on.
Following the accident, the traffic came to a halt on the busy highway. It was later restored after the badly damaged auto was removed from the scene by using a crane.