A traffic police constable, who was on duty, died on the spot in the early hours on Thursday, when a speeding container lorry mowed him down at a police check-post on Manali Express Road. Another constable at the post suffered a broken leg, while a Special Sub-Inspector (SSI) escaped injury by a whisker.
Traffic police said the incident took place at 1.15 a.m., opposite the Sathangadu police station, when constables Sandana Mariappan (27), Prem Nivas (33) and SSI S. Kumar, all attached to Manali traffic enforcement, were regulating container lorries heading to 0 Gate of the Chennai Port.
A shaken Kumar said that he and his colleagues had just returned to the check-post after waking up drivers, who were asleep inside their lorries, while waiting to enter the port. “Mariappan was seated on his motorcycle ahead of us when a lorry came towards him after overtaking another lorry. The vehicle ran over Mariappan and knocked down the check-post ahead, injuring Nivas and whisked past me,” added Kumar.
Kumar was on his first day of duty under Manali traffic enforcement, after being transferred from New Washermenpet police station.
The lorry driver abandoned the vehicle and fled. Nivas, whose right leg was fractured, is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Tondiarpet.
Following a complaint lodged by Kumar, Madhavaram traffic police registered a case and five special teams have been formed to crack the case. The lorry was seized and a hunt is on to find the driver. “Preliminary investigations revealed that the driver might have dozed off behind the wheel, leading to the accident. We will get further information only after nabbing him,” said Sanjay Arora, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic).
The deceased, Sandana Mariappan, who hails from Sankarankoil in Tirunelveli, joined the police force in 2008 and was posted to Manali traffic enforcement last year. His father Kanniah is an SSI with the South police station in Tuticorin, and his elder brother Balamurugan, an Armed Reserve Constable on duty at the Saidapet Court.
“We both stayed in a room at the Manali police quarters and he left for night duty on Wednesday. Our parents were planning to get us married and wanted to conduct our weddings at the same venue,” said Balamurugan, before leaving with his brother's body in an ambulance for their hometown on Thursday afternoon.