Bus was bringing children back to school in Chromepet after excursion; none hurt

Tense moments prevailed in Tambaram Sanatorium and later, at Chromepet on Thursday evening when the allegedly inebriated driver of a private tourist bus who was transporting more than 50 school children drove in a reckless manner. 

Though no one was hurt, the incident created anxiety among motorists on arterial Grand Southern Trunk Road.

The bus was one of the five that were carrying a group of more than 250 students of Holy Angels School in Chromepet along with their teachers, on an excursion to Queensland amusement park near Poonamallee on Thursday morning. 

They were returning to the school in the evening, when the driver of bus No. 4 lost control of the vehicle at the traffic signal at MEPZ-SEZ, Tambaram Sanatorium. The driver, R. Muruganandam, of Moongil Eri, Pammal, saw the green signal but instead of proceeding forward, began to reverse and rammed a mini-cargo vehicle in the process. 

The cargo vehicle’s crew, including driver James, got into an argument with Muruganandam, who realising his folly, took his vehicle towards Chromepet. The mini-cargo vehicle’s crew, who suspected that the driver was drunk, pursued the bus and also informed Chromepet police station. 

Muruganandam brought the bus to a halt near the premises of the school. Even as the parents took their children home, policemen caught up with the bus. Noticing the driver’s behaviour, policemen took him to Chromepet police station. He was then taken to the office of St. Thomas Mount Traffic Police (Investigation) on Tiruneermalai Road, Nagalkeni. 

Muruganandam told policemen that he had consumed a bottle of alcohol after dropping the children at the amusement park. A case under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code (rash driving on a public way), read with Section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act (driving by a drunken person) has been registered. 

Traffic policemen said Muruganandam, hailing from Kumbakonam, was a temporary or acting driver, who was engaged by his employer Sundar to drive the bus, registered in Tiruchi

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