Three persons were killed and five others badly injured when their van (Maruti Omni) fell from an over bridge at Puthukattupudur near Eswarmoorthipalayam in Rasipuram taluk, Namakkal district, during the wee hours of Monday.

The accident happened when seven of a family who had hired the van to go to the temple in Palani were returning home.

“Preliminary investigations have led to the suspicion that van driver C. Ravikumar (25), of Chinnasamy Koundampalayam in Attur, was over speeding and fell asleep at that time of the incident.

The van hit the side wall of the bridge and fell into a small dry canal, about 10 feet from the bridge”, Police added.

The driver and S. Ramesh (31) of Attur died on the spot. Another occupant Sakthivel (42), of Manivizhunthan Colony in Attur, who sustained serious injuries, was rushed to the Salem government hospital but died on the way. Their bodies were taken to the Salem Government Hospital for post-mortem.

The injured – Sakthivel’s son S. Naveen (13) and daughter S. Geevitha (10), Palanivel (55), Ramesh’s father Sabapathi (55) and mother Rathna (50) – were taken to the Salem government hospital. Informed sources said that all the five were out of danger.

Police said that the van was completely damaged. The Mangalapuram Police have registered a case. Superintendent of Police P. Kannammal, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Rasipuram) T.P. Rajan and others were investigating the case.

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