Police Commissioner Gary Griffith was involved in a vehicular accident yesterday, but luckily he suffered no injuries.
Griffith's official vehicle collided with another vehicle driven by a civilian as his security detail chased after a driver who had been driving in a reckless and dangerous manner.
Social media users were first alerted about the incident following a 50-second clip being circulated via WhatsApp.
Confirming he had not sustained any cuts or bruises in the accident which occurred around 1.30 pm in the vicinity of the T&T Yacht Club, Glencoe, Griffith said his security detail observed the driver of a B13 Sentra "driving in and out of the traffic, going on to the shoulder, and driving above the speed limit".
Pursuing the vehicle which had been proceeding in a westerly direction, Griffith said one of his advance security vehicles then turned on their siren and activated the flashing blue lights in a bid to stop the driver.
However, "Whilst in pursuit, they came into contact with another vehicle, and then that vehicle actually spun out of control and crashed into the vehicle I was in which was at a standstill in the traffic. We weren’t moving and it hit us.”
The officers were unable to arrest the reckless driver since they rushed to assist the civilian who was driving the car which they crashed into.
Griffith said they had been reviewing video footage in an effort to obtain information which would lead to the arrest of this motorist.
Expressing shock that the driver who videotaped the incident had done so whilst driving, Griffith said, "The first thing you automatically throw is a broad brush to believe the police were actually abusing their authority. The individual who was doing this video on social media was actually holding his phone recording whilst driving, but had the audacity to be speaking about irresponsible driving.
"It must not be said that every single time the police are involved in an accident, it is automatically believed they are doing something outside of their authority. We have the GPS systems in all vehicles so we can monitor the speed the officers are going at and because of that, this has greatly reduced the number of police vehicles being involved in accidents because there is now a degree of accountability.”
Defending his officers, Griffith said there would be times when the officers would need to go above the speed limit and employ certain measures to detain a suspect or when responding to a distress call.
In a release several hours later, the TTPS recounted what Griffith had said earlier.
The TTPS stated that it would be conducting an investigation into the accident, as is required in all Road Traffic Accidents.
Civilian hurt, forced to waits long hours for medical attention
Meanwhile, relatives of the civilian involved in the accident told CNC3 news that they are very disappointed with how the police handled the victim. He was identified as 27-year-old Shakeel Forbes from Carenage. When relatives contacted Guardian Media shortly before 6 pm, they said Forbes was yet to be attended to by a doctor at the St James health facility although he arrived there after 1 pm. They said the officers at the scene of the accident showed no interest in taking Forbes to the hospital and were uncooperative when they visited him at the health centre. The officers said they will speak with Forbes after he has seen by a doctor. Guardian Media informed the police commissioner who promised to contact the family.