Monday, February 24, 2020

T&T Road rage driver picked the wrong victim, a cop

Trinidad Express:–  IN an act of road rage, a man pulled a baton on a driver who turned out to be a police sergeant.

It landed Brandon Samlal in a jail cell, and in court yesterday.

“Anger management is a big problem. It’s just as bad as having a weapon if you cannot control your anger,” San Fernando magistrate Alicia Chankar told Samlal.

Samlal, 28 of Gasparillo, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, possession of a weapon and common assault.

On August 30 2018, Sgt Chanardath Jhilmit was driving his private vehicle along the southbound lane of the Solomon Hochoy Highway. Family members were in the car. Police prosecutor Cleyon Seedan said that on reaching near the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Jhimit crossed onto the right lane and overtook a truck.

Samlal, who was driving behind Jhilmit, sped up to the rear of the vehicle and started driving close to the bumper of Jhilmit’s car.

He then overtook the officer and later slowed down suddenly in front of him, causing Jhilmit to almost collide with Samlal’s vehicle. There was a truck on the left and Jhilmt was unable to overtake. He eventually used the shoulder of the highway to avoid confrontation with Samlal.

Seedan said Jhilmit drove to Suchit Trace, Debe and Samlal followed him. He overtook three vehicles and cut in front of Jhilimit’s car and almost collided with another vehicle. The court heard that Samlal came out in an aggressive manner with a baton and pointed it in the direction of Jhilmit’s face, shouting and accusing him of almost making him hit the cable while on the highway.

Seedan said Jhilmit became fearful for his and his family’s life and came out with his licensed firearm, pointing it in a downward direction, bearing in mind there were other vehicles on the roadway. He identified himself as a police officer and four times shouted for Samlal to drop the baton. Samlal placed it in his car. Jhilmit asked for his driver’s permit and Samlal pretended he was searching for it in the car but drove off.

Jhimlit recorded the registration number of the vehicle and also made a report to the police. He was later able to get the name and address of the driver of the vehicle and visited Samlal. After speaking to him, the baton was handed over.

Sgt Ramdial and Jhilmit laid the charges against Samlal.

He was represented by attorney Anand Misir who said his client was the father of a five-year-old. Samlal told the court that on the day of the incident, he was in a depressed state following the death of two relatives. He also said that his grandmother was in hospital and on that day he was running errands for his common-law wife and was also going for a haircut.

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