Three, including 7-year-old girl and woman constable, killed in separate accidents

A seven-year-old girl died on the spot when a speeding lorry knocked her down while she was crossing the road, right outside her home in Ettiyapuram near Tambaram on Saturday morning. Furious residents later traced the lorry, brought it back to the accident site and set it on fire. 

Latchaya is the oldest among three children of Ramya and Ganesan, living in Ettiyapuram, about six kilometres from Tambaram. A student of class II at a private school near her home, she returned from school on Friday evening, and asked her parents to get her posters of national leaders, rivers and maps for a school project she had to submit on Monday. 

Her father Ganesan, a former driver, who had recently bought a lorry, told her he would buy them the next day. Around 11 a.m on Saturday, Latchaya went to her friend’s house across the road to get some material for the project. Her mother helped her cross the road after making sure it was safe. About 10 minutes later, she was returning back home when the accident occurred. 

“Ramya was trying to put her other children – daughter Senniammal and son Kishore to sleep. There was a loud noise followed by a commotion. We rushed out of our homes and noticed Latchaya lying in a pool of blood and a lorry speeding away,” said Saraswathy, a neighbour. 

A profusely bleeding Latchaya, who was critically injured on her thighs and abdomen, was rushed to a private hospital in Tambaram, where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Her body was taken to Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet.  

Meanwhile, the driver of the lorry, Chinnadurai, sped away after the accident. He parked his vehicle inside a stone quarry, less than a kilometre away and fled. Angry residents of Ettiyapuram, Naduveerappattu, Dargast, Erumaiyur and localities in the vicinity gathered in a short while. A few hundred people stormed the quarry and brought the lorry (TN 22 AM 5155) back to the accident spot. 

Residents soon brought along small bottles as well as big cans of petrol and kerosene, poured it on the lorry and set it on fire. Women were in the forefront of the gathering and some of them threw dry coconut fronds inside the vehicle to fan the flames. Soon personnel from Manimangalam and Somangalam police stations reached the spot.  

However, the residents squatted around the burning lorry, preventing a Fire tender from Tambaram from getting anywhere near the vehicle. Police personnel were at the receiving end of public anger as many of the protestors charged that nothing was done to prevent the menace of overspeeding vehicles.  

The residents made way for the fire tender only after police officials assured them of stringent action against those responsible. A case under Section 304 (ii) of Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amount to murder) has been registered and Chinnadurai of Pazhanthandalam was arrested in the evening. 

At the government hospital in Chromepet, where a post-mortem examination of Latchaya’s body was performed, Ramya, the young girl’s mother refused to even drink water offered by her close relatives. Prathap, a resident of the locality, said Latchaya would often be seen enthusiastically reading her lessons or involved in craftwork.

Residents have been demanding speed breakers at regular intervals. Lorries, especially those transporting stones, hardly follow safety norms and their drivers, without exception, indulge in rash driving, they said.

Keywords: road accident

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