FAMILY WIPED OUT: Hady Paul and her two children, Shakira, seven, and Akasha, eight.

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COP CAN'T RECALL CRASH

Traffic policeman, 25, discharged from hospital with minor injuries

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

The 25-year-old policeman who was involved in the fatal accident on Sunday in Sea Lots, which claimed the lives of a mother and her two young daughters, cannot recall the crash.

He was released from the Port of Spain General Hospital on Monday.

Senior medical sources yesterday told the Express the policeman claimed to have no memory of the accident.

Medical sources said the policeman was lucky to be alive, as he had escaped the crash with only a few bruises.

Three other people who were injured in the accident remain hospitalised.

One of the patients is in the hospital's high dependency unit.

Police reports indicated that just after 9 a.m. on Sunday, the off-duty police officer, who is assigned to the Transport and Telecom Branch, was heading west in his beige-coloured Toyota Corolla, when his car swerved to the left just after the traffic lights near the Central Market, mounted the sidewalk and ploughed into six people.

Hady Paul, 28, and her daughters, Akasha, eight, and Shakira, seven, were killed as they were returning to their home at Production Drive, Sea Lots, from the market.

Victims Abbigail Assing, Amanda Lalla and Ryan Rampersad, alias "Dhal", remain patients at the Port of Spain hospital.

Lalla has been kept in the Intensive Care Unit with broken arms, legs and a fractured skull. Rampersad is said to be in critical condition, while Assing was considered stable.

On Sunday, the victims of the accident and the driver were taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital.

Sources told the Express yesterday the officer suffered a few minor bruises to his face and other parts of his body.

Blood samples were taken from the policeman to be tested.

Asked if this was a routine procedure, the medical source told the Express this was done only if doctors suspected the person to be under the influence of some substance or if direct instructions were given for blood tests to be done.

Sources said on Monday the officer told doctors he could not recall anything about the accident, how it happened or anything about the people involved in the crash.

The policeman had complained about pain in his jaw, but after undergoing tests to rule out a broken or fractured jaw, he was sent home.

The fatal accident triggered protests from enraged Sea Lots residents who, on Sunday, claimed police removed a half-empty bottle of whisky from the officer's vehicle—a claim police on the scene immediately denied.

On the day of the accident, police said they were forced to use tear gas and rubber bullets to quell the chaos, as residents had blocked the Beetham Highway.

The fury of the residents continued early Monday morning, as they again blocked the roads, causing massive traffic gridlock for several hours.

On the heels of the fiery protest, National Security Minister Jack Warner, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams and Deputy Commissioner Mervyn Richardson visited Sea Lots and assured there would be no cover-up in the investigation of the officer, and that a walkover would be built at the location.

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