mourning: Sea Lots residents hold a candlelight vigil along the Beetham Highway, Port of Spain, last evening in memory of the mother and two daughters who were killed on Sunday. Three other victims are still warded in hospital. —Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

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Relatives of driver: He was hit from behind

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

THE police officer whose car struck and killed a mother and her two daughters in Sea Lots, Port of Spain, on Sunday, sparking a near-riot, was on his way to work when it happened.

This according to his relatives, who told the Express yesterday the officer could not remember the crash because he had suffered a blow to the head, and had been knocked unconscious in the crash.

The relatives said they had received death threats since the crash, and were all fearful for their lives.

The relatives said they were all saddened by what had happened, and hurting just as much as the family of Haydee Paul and her two daughters who died at the scene.

The officer's family also suggested the crash happened when his car was rear-ended by another unknown vehicle.

The three victims were on their way back from the Central Market when they were hit by a runaway car driven by the officer, who is attached to Police Barracks, St James.

Four other persons were injured, including the police officer, whose family said yesterday he had suffered a head injury so bad that "the right side of his face is swollen like a balloon".

The officer, who lives in Chaguanas, was not at home when the Express visited yesterday.

He was released from the Port of Spain General Hospital on Monday, after being treated for pain in the jaw.

Relatives said the injury to his face had left him unable to speak properly.

The crash led to a protest on Sunday and Monday, with some residents claiming that responding police officers had removed a half-empty bottle of alcohol from the scene. The residents blocked the highway on both days, leading to a traffic gridlock for thousands of motorists.

However, the family of the officer said he did not drink hard liquor.

"If he drinking, it would be Carib beer," the brother said.

His mother said "he woke that morning and headed to work".

She said it was all speculation how the crash happened and believed her son's car had been hit from behind, referring to the damage done to the rear of the vehicle.

She said the officer had also suffered injury to the right side temple and right eye.

She said he was unable to speak properly "and only the left side of his mouth is moving".

The officer's brother said he was being administered painkillers.

Relatives were unable to say when he would give police a statement.

His age was given as "thirty-something" and relatives said he had no children.

The officer's family said they were praying for the family of those who died.

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