New York road accident victim to be buried; wife in coma

The body of Chandan Gavai, an Indian man, who died in a road accident in the New York on July 4, is likely to be buried as his wife is in a coma and cannot give consent for his cremation, reports say.

According to India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Indian Consul General in New York Riva Ganguly has proposed that the body of Chandan Gavai, who died along with his parents when a pickup truck crashed into their car in New York on July 4, be buried till his wife, Manisha Surwade, came out of the coma.

IT professional Gavai, 38, and his parents Kamalnayan Gavai, 74, and Archana Gavai, 60, were killed when a pickup truck crashed into their car while they were returning after watching Fourth of July fireworks. The truck driver also died on the spot.

Both vehicles burst into flames immediately after the accident which happened at Yaphank in Suffolk County, New York. Surwade, 32, sustained life-threatening burns and head injuries while their 11-month-old son sustained non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The family hails from Kalyan in Maharashtra. Stating that the bodies of the parents will be buried in the U.S., Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “Burial of Chandan as his wife Manisha is in coma and she alone can give consent for his cremation.”

According to U.S. laws, the spouse’s consent is needed for the cremation of a body. “Burial only till his wife Manisha recovers from coma. Once she gives consent, Chandan will also be cremated,” she said in another tweet.

She said that death certificates would be issued for all the three who died and the family would be helped in getting insurance money.

Sushma Swaraj added that all members of the family, including of Manisha, who are in the U.S., are agreeable to the consul general’s proposal. According to a report by WABC in New York, law enforcement source said the driver, Gustave Geyer, was drunk and had a blood alcohol content of .16, which is twice the legal limit.

The India Society at Stony Brook, meanwhile, an Indian American community organization in Long Island, New York, has set up an online fundraising effort “to secure the future of the baby,” at www.gofundme.com/2czk3bra. “We are in the process of creating a trust to hold the funds, until it is clear who gets the custody of the baby or when the mother recovers enough to take charge of everything. All expenditure will be made directly to the end service providers by way of a bank check to keep everything 100% transparent,” ISSB said in a statement. It has raised over $200,000 thus far toward a goal of $300,000.

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