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.