Three loadmen who were asleep in a fertilizer godown inside the Chennai Port Trust were run over by a lorry early on Sunday. Another person escaped with minor injuries.

Sources with the Harbour police said the incident occurred around 4.45 a.m. at Berth no.3 of Jawahar Dock after the driver of the lorry reversed the vehicle to go out of the godown after loading fertilizers. “Since it was raining at the time, some loadmen were sleeping inside the godown after work. The driver reversed the lorry without noticing the men asleep on the floor and ran over them,” said R. Gunavarman, Inspector, Harbour police station.

Loadmen Kannan (18), Desappan (26) and Manikandan (26), all from Tsunami Colony in VOC Nagar, New Washermenpet came under the lorry's rear wheels and died on the spot. Another loadman Suresh (25), also from the same area, suffered injuries on his legs in the incident. Co-workers took him to the Government Stanley hospital where he was given treatment and discharged on Sunday afternoon, police sources said.

Kumar (52) of Tondiarpet, driver of the lorry abandoned the vehicle and fled immediately after the accident. He was apprehended in the evening by a police team.

Harbour police registered a case under Sections 304 A (Causing death by negligence), 279 (Rash driving) and 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of IPC against Kumar. He was remanded to custody and sent to Puzhal prison, sources added.