Monday, September 16, 2019

T&T Cops, Inmates Hurt After Prison Van Flips

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Trinidad Guardian:–  A traf­fic ac­ci­dent on Thurs­day re­sult­ed in in­jury to 14 pris­on­ers, three po­lice of­fi­cers and two Amal­ga­mat­ed se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cers sus­tain­ing in­juries af­ter a prison trans­port van over­turned on to its hood along the Pri­or­i­ty Bus Route.

De­tails of the ac­ci­dent shared with Guardian Me­dia on Fri­day con­firm that the ac­ci­dent oc­curred short­ly af­ter mid­day on Thurs­day near Mt Lam­bert.

Guardian Me­dia learned that the con­voy was on its way from the Port-of-Spain High Court with a par­ty of pris­on­ers to the Gold­en Grove Prison when the ve­hi­cle flipped and land­ed on the hood at the side of the road.

Of­fi­cers said there were “high-risk pris­on­ers” re­turn­ing to the Max­i­mum Se­cu­ri­ty Prison (MSP) and the re­mand sec­tion of the Gold­en Grove Prison.

The pris­on­er-es­cort was led by po­lice of­fi­cers as­signed to the Guard and Emer­gency Branch. The con­voy in­clud­ed two 24-seater Amal­ga­mat­ed bus­es, a pan­el van and an undis­closed num­ber of po­lice ve­hi­cles.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that on ap­proach­ing the traf­fic lights, the lead es­cort ve­hi­cles stopped sud­den­ly caus­ing the dri­ver of one of the bus­es to lose con­trol of the ve­hi­cle.

The rip­ple ef­fect caused the bus to crash in­to the pan­el van which then went out of con­trol and top­pled.

The bus was car­ry­ing 11 in­mates, one po­lice of­fi­cer and the Amal­ga­mat­ed dri­ver. The oth­er ve­hi­cle, a pan­el van was trans­port­ing two fe­male in­mates, two fe­male po­lice of­fi­cers and the Amal­ga­mat­ed dri­ver.

As a pre­cau­tion, all in­volved were tak­en to the near­by Er­ic Williams Med­ical Sci­ence Cen­tre at Mt Hope where they re­ceived med­ical treat­ment.

The in­mates and of­fi­cers suf­fered in­juries to their head, back, neck, shoul­der and knees. The po­lice of­fi­cers and se­cu­ri­ty per­son­nel were al­so treat­ed. One of the women po­lice of­fi­cers suf­fered a se­vere in­jury to one of her wrists.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that law en­force­ment of­fi­cers at­tempt­ed to re­turn the pris­on­ers to their re­spec­tive pris­ons af­ter the ac­ci­dent, but prison of­fi­cers re­fused to ad­mit them sug­gest­ing that they should first be tak­en to a health fa­cil­i­ty.

The in­mates were then tak­en to Arou­ca Health Cen­tre but were al­so re­fused be­cause of the sever­i­ty of their in­juries. Their next stop was the Ari­ma Dis­trict Hos­pi­tal where they were treat­ed and dis­charged. They were then brought back to the pris­ons short­ly be­fore 6 pm on Thurs­day.

An eye­wit­ness said the in­mates and of­fi­cers re­main “shak­en up” by the in­ci­dent. “It has been a bit more trau­ma­tis­ing for two in­mates as it was the sec­ond ac­ci­dent that they ex­pe­ri­enced in less than a year,” an of­fi­cer, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied since he was not au­tho­rised to speak to the me­dia.

The of­fi­cer added that the in­mates claimed that when next they are to be tak­en to court “they may very well refuse to be trans­port­ed in the Amal­ga­mat­ed Pris­on­er’s Trans­port ve­hi­cles be­cause of the ac­ci­dents.”

Five of the in­mates in­volved in Thurs­day’s ac­ci­dent are on tri­al for the mur­der of Ed­ward Khoury. Two of the five were in­volved in a crash while re­turn­ing to the prison in April last year. That ac­ci­dent oc­curred near Bermudez bis­cuit com­pa­ny.

Four­teen in­mates, who are now be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by at­tor­ney Nera Na­dine, were giv­en fur­ther med­ical ex­am­i­na­tions yes­ter­day by the prison doc­tor.

Ear­li­er this year, on Jan­u­ary 18, an Amal­ga­mat­ed Se­cu­ri­ty ve­hi­cle trans­port­ing 15 pris­on­ers to the Max­i­mum Se­cu­ri­ty Prison in Arou­ca was in­volved in a mi­nor ve­hic­u­lar ac­ci­dent near Mau­si­ca Junc­tion. The pris­on­ers were tak­en to the Ari­ma Health Fa­cil­i­ty for pre­cau­tion­ary checks.

In an un­re­lat­ed in­ci­dent, in 2017, two prison of­fi­cers and two pris­on­ers were in­jured af­ter the pris­on­er trans­port ve­hi­cle they were trav­el­ling in col­lid­ed with a car in San Fer­nan­do.

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