Some 10 rioters had attempted to overturn a police car parked near the accident scene - where a private bus had earlier run over an Indian national - a foreign worker who was at the scene that night told the Committee of Inquiry on Thursday.
Construction worker Kannadasan Murugan, 34, was at Little India with friends on that night when he heard that the accident had happened, and that a rowdy crowd had gathered.
He later witnessed some members in the crowd attempting to overturn the police car.
"I saw about 10 people trying to lift the vehicle," he said through a translator. "But they couldn't and they set it back down."
From the second floor of Tekka Market, where he had gone to get a better view as events unfolded, Mr Kannadesan said he saw multiple police vehicles on fire.
An ambulance on fire subsequently exploded in front of his eyes, while about 20 to 30 of those in the roughly 200-strong crowd were throwing projectiles.
Asked by committee chairman G Pannir Selvam what he would say if somebody told the inquiry that hundreds had tried to overturn government vehicles, he replied: "I would say no, that's not what I saw."