PORT OF SPAIN – What might have been an open-and-shut case against a police officer, who ploughed into six residents of Sea Lots along the Beetham Highway, Port-of-Spain, on February 24, has turned into a lengthy and muddled investigation.
Three people died and three others were injured in the crash, which occurred along the westbound lane of the highway.
The T&T Guardian was reliably informed that a breathalyser test, which measures blood alcohol level, was administered at 2:47 p.m. on the day of the fatal collision, almost six hours after the incident. It was administered at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital by WPC Marcia Lopez, a trained breath analysis technician assigned to Besson Street Police Station.
The police officer who was driving the vehicle passed the test with a reading of zero. The breathalyser test was administered in the presence of attending physician Dr Prathap Kumar. The T&T Guardian has also learnt that a blood sample was taken from the off-duty policeman and sent for testing but in an untidy twist, investigators have reported that the blood sample was tested on a machine that was not properly calibrated.
As a result the blood sample has been spoilt. The February 24 collision occurred around 9:10 a.m. Haydee Paul, 28, and her daughters, Shakira, seven, and Akasha, eight, were on the pavement of the westbound lane of the highway, close to Production Drive, Sea Lots, when a car driven by an off-duty policeman mounted the pavement and slammed into them. They died instantly.
Autopsies on mother and daughters found that they all died of multiple blunt-force trauma. Three other residents – Abigail Assing, Amanda Lalla and Ryan “Dhal” Rampersad – were injured. Assing spent 11 days at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital with injuries to the left side of her body, including her arm and hip, before she was discharged on March 6. (Guardian)