12th January 2018 12:43:26 Hours
Traffic Division at Dematagoda Police in a letter of appreciation to the Directorate of Army Training at the Army Headquarters has commended the timely action of an Army soldier who voluntarily offered his quick help to nab a driver fleeing, having knocked down a vendor crossing the road near Mount Mary Junction along Baseline Road.
Lance Corporal M.A.N.P.T Manathunga of 11 Sri Lanka Signal Corps (SLSC), attached to the Directorate of Training at the Army Headquarters was in Dematagoda area, close to a passenger-crossing along Baseline Road on 12 December 2017 around 4.15 pm when he suddenly spotted a king coconut vendor crossing the road pushing his cart, being knocked down by a speeding car which did not stop after the tragedy.
The eye-witnessing soldier on motorbike immediately attended to the victim who appeared almost dead by then, but removed him to the roadside to be taken to the hospital before he got back on his motorbike and started chasing the car that fled knocking down the innocent 'Thembili' vendor. After a very challenging chase, he caught the sight of the fleeing car and gave its number to the Police personnel serving near the Orugodawatta Junction.
A few minutes later, the good Samaritan, Lance Corporal Manathunga hurried to the emergency ward at the Colombo National Hospital after a short while but found the victim had already died of fatal accident injuries at Dematagoda. On his way back, Lance Corporal Manathunga visited the Dematagoda Police Station and gave Policemen the details about the car that fled the scene after injuring the vendor on the crossing.
Dematagoda Police swiftly acted and took steps to arrest the errant driver and the car, following information given by the Army soldier.
In their letter of appreciation, the Police pointed out that personnel of this nature are "a pride to the Army and a role model to the civil society". "Although the said good-doer was on a private mission, his individual act enabled the Police to track the suspect who knocked down the vendor on the crossing", the letter forwarded to the Army said.