Indian-origin taxi driver charged over fatal crash in Aus

Melbourne: A 37-year-old Indian-origin taxi driver has been arrested and charged in Australia with dangerous driving for causing a fatal crash that left an elderly woman dead and 12 persons injured.

Shepparton Magistrate court charged Jatinder Panesar with one count causing death on Monday after he appeared in the court.

Panesar was released on bail but forced to surrender his passport.

He will be facing court again on October 24 this year and is not allowed to drive or leave Victoria.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), police said the incident took place as the driver rammed his vehicle into a mini-bus which rolled at the intersection of Pyke and Turnbull roads at Ardmona in North Victoria.

The mini-bus was carrying 12 adult passengers while the taxi was carrying two passengers. The collision injured 12 persons while a woman from the bus died on the spot.

“The taxi driver stopped at the scene and is assisting police with inquiries,” police said.

Nine of the mini-bus passengers were residents at Mercy Place Shepparton, one was a staff member and two were volunteers.

Following the incident, Mercy Health group chief executive Stephen Cornelissen said in a memo to the staff that the group were returning from an outing to a local bakery.

“Tonight and tomorrow we focus our thoughts and prayers on the families of the deceased and those injured, and of course on our colleagues,” the memo read.

“I ask you to think of them so they may feel our care and solidarity now and in the difficult days ahead,” it said.