Four injured as police vehicle runs amok

Staff Reporter

FoP volunteer, who was driving the vehicle, was arrested "Government has to allot two drivers for a vehicle"

TAMBARAM: Four persons were injured, one of them critically, when they were hit by a police vehicle driven by a 21-year-old Friends of Police volunteer in St. Thomas Mount in the early hours on Monday. The injured had just completed their Christmas mass and were returning home.

Santhi, 43, Mahesh, 15, Carmel, 34 and Reshma, 7, were among a large number of devotees who took part in the Christmas mass at Wesley's Church and were on their way home. A Toyota Qualis patrol vehicle belonging to the All-Women Police Station of St. Thomas Mount ran amok after its driver lost control and hit a section of them. The four were injured and admitted at a private hospital in Porur, police said, adding one of them was critical. The accident took place at the intersection of Butt Road and Church Road.

Thamizhvanan, 21, who was driving the vehicle, is reported to have abandoned the vehicle and fled from the spot.

St. Thomas Mount police, later, arrested him and booked cases under Sections 279 (rash driving) and 337 (causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code. Police said the vehicle was coming down the slope and the youth is reported to have lost control after noticing the crowd.

Preliminary inquiries revealed that the youth had pressed the accelerator pedal instead of applying brakes, according to police, who said that the youth was a FoP volunteer attached to the Nandambakkam police station.

The women Inspector of the police station was also present in the vehicle when the accident took place. The usual driver was on duty all day on Sunday and was relieved only in the evening. As the Inspector from this police station was on night rounds duty, the FoP volunteer's services were required. There were frayed tempers at the scene of accident, but agitated devotees were pacified after senior officers intervened.

The police said the acute shortage of police drivers forced personnel to engage private drivers or volunteers from Friends of Police. They said while sanctioning vehicles, be it for officers, police stations or other wings, the State Government also had to allot two drivers per vehicle.

But only one driver from the armed reserve police was allotted and the personnel had to manage by roping in a driver from the local police stations. However, making use of the services of private drivers and volunteers was not permitted, police said. They made it clear that only police drivers could drive regular or patrol vehicles.

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