Indian-origin, Kunal Chopra, a 21-year-old student from Ferozepur, Punjab, who had only arrived in Australia eight months prior, died at the scene after his car collided with a truck in Canberra. This new tragedy has shaken the Indian-Australian diaspora, as it occurs days after the Shepparton collision that claimed the lives of four men of Indian descent.
On William Hovell Drive, 500 metres west of Coppins Crossing, Kunal Chopra, a student visa holder from a village near Ferozepur in Punjab, was driving home from work when his blue Hyundai Getz collided head-on with a concrete pumping truck.
The westbound Hyundai entered the path of the city-bound truck by crossing to the wrong side of the road according to the early findings.
Paramedics from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Ambulance Service were unable to rescue the 21-year-old, and he was pronounced dead at the site. This was the first traffic fatality in the territory in 2023.
Before being transferred to a hospital for an obligatory drug and alcohol test, the driver of the concrete pumping vehicle had his health evaluated. After the collision, William Hovell Drive was shut down for a while.
According to Acting Inspector for Road Policing Travis Mills, the major collisions team is still looking into the event and is putting together a report for the coroner.
In February of last year, Mr. Chopra travelled to Sydney with high hopes. However, he soon moved to Canberra to live with his cousin Honey Malhotra in order to benefit from family support and better job chances. In an interview with SBS Punjabi, Mr. Malhotra said, “We are heartbroken, and his family back home is shattered and inconsolable.”
He claimed that preparations were being made to bring Mr. Chopra’s mortal remains to his Indian relatives. Gurpreet Singh Gill, a friend and community member, said the tragedy has left Canberra’s close-knit Indian community in a state of profound shock.
Since Canberra is a small, close-knit community, everyone there knows everyone. So when the news first came out, we were all shocked.
According to Mr. Gill, who spoke to SBS Punjabi, “We are in contact with his family and the Indian High Commission, which is assisting with the repatriation of his mortal remains to India.” Additionally, he cautioned young students to drive carefully.
In November, Kunal Chopra turned 21. On January 10, a terrible crash on William Hovell Drive in Canberra cruelly ended the life of a young student who was returning after finishing his duty.
Anyone having dashcam footage that shows either the car previous to the incident or a witness to the crash who has not yet talked with police should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-333-0000 or submit a tip online.