CHENNAI: The container lorry menace reared its ugly head again, claiming the life of a traffic constable monitoring the movement of heavy vehicles on Thiruvottiyur-Manali Road and injuring two other policemen at Sathangadu in the wee hours of Thursday. The victim, 26-year-old K Santhana Mariappan, attached to the Manali traffic police wing, was on duty at the Sathangadu check-post, near Ennore at the time of incident, Nirmal Kumar Joshi, Deputy Commissioner, Traffic (North), told Express.
There had been several fatal accidents involving container lorries on the busy route. “Around 3,500 trucks pass through Ennore to reach the port every day. In order to avoid a pile-up of vehicles, we have 10 points from Manali to Ennore to monitor the movement of vehicles,” Joshi said.
The DCP said that when the movement of traffic slowed down, lorry drivers had a tendency to park their vehicles and take a nap. Hence, traffic constables on duty at the stretch would wake up the sleeping drivers and ask them to move.
On Wednesday midnight, Manali traffic constable Santhana Mariappan, a native of Vilathikulam in Thoothukudi district, was engaged in the task.
He was riding his motorbike from truck to truck and on seeing a driver napping, woke him up. He then parked his bike near the Sathangadu police station, where a check-post had been put up.
As he sat on his two-wheeler talking to Manali traffic sub-inspector Kumar and another policeman Prem Nivas, the container lorry driver — whom he had woken up some time ago — overtook a few vehicles in the queue and rammed the check-post barricade and hit his bike. “The two-wheeler was dragged for about 40 feet and the constable was crushed under the wheels,” the DCP said.
Santhana Mariappan was killed on the spot, while Prem Nivas (33) suffered a broken leg. The SI escaped with minor injuries. The driver abandoned the vehicle and escaped into the darkness.
On information, DCP Joshi and Assistant Commissioner (Harbour) S Radhakrishnan rushed to the spot, recovered the constable’s body and sent it to Stanley Medical College Hospital for autopsy. Prem Nivas was admitted to a private hospital in Tondiarpet.
Discounting speculation that the incident was the result of the driver’s rage because his sleep had been disturbed, Joshi said the area was covered in darkness and the accused man probably did not notice the barricade and lost control of the vehicle after hitting it.