The female police officer who ordered that a car is wrecked and towed away although the owner was present, should be hauled before the acting Commissioner of Police and immediately disciplined.
The officer broke all rules when despite the protestations of the owner, Jared Edwards, she ordered the wrecker to remove the vehicle from South Quay, Port-of-Spain, to the police compound in Sea Lots.
What makes it worse, she allowed Edwards to dangerously sit on the bonnet of his car for three-quarters of a mile until the car was released from the grip of the wrecker. Any jerk along the way could have ended fatally for Edwards as he was likely to fall under his own Nissan Wingroad vehicle.
Let’s make it abundantly clear here.
All citizens of Trinidad and Tobago should be made aware of the laws regarding wrecking of vehicles that are parked in contravention of the laws of the land. As stated in the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act Chapter 48:50 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago:
108. (1) Where a vehicle is parked in contravention of any provisions of this Act or of any Regulations or Orders made thereunder, or is left on any road in such a manner that it is likely to cause any obstruction to persons lawfully using any such road, any member of the Police Service may—
(a) require the driver or another person in control or in charge thereof to remove it or cause it to be removed, and any person who fails to comply with any such requirement is liable to a fine of three hundred dollars or to imprisonment for three months;
(b) if the driver or another person in control or in charge of such vehicle cannot be found or
refuses to remove it when required to do so, remove such vehicle or arrange for it to be
removed from the place in which it is parked to a place of safe custody either by towing or
driving the vehicle or in such other manner as he may think necessary.
(2) When any member of the Police Service removes or provides for the safe custody of any motor vehicle or arranges for any person to remove it or provide for its removal under subsection (1) then, except upon proof of failure to exercise reasonable care, neither such member of the Police Service nor any such other person shall be liable in any action or demand for any damages arising from the loss or damage to such vehicle in the course of its removal or otherwise.
In a video posted online, driver Jared Edwards is seen seated firmly on the bonnet of his blue Nissan Wingroad as the car is towed along the Beetham Highway by a wrecker on the way to the impound lot in Sea Lots.
Edwards is seen gesticulating towards the cab of the wrecker as he complains to drivers who were shooting videos.
The person who shot the video narrated that Edwards refused to be wrecked by a police officer and in protest went on top of the bonnet as it was being towed.
The man added that the sight of a man seated on a car caused a traffic jam, as motorists slowed to take pictures and video.
On Edwards’s Facebook page, one of his friends questioned if it was indeed him who was risking his life.
Edwards himself posted voice notes on WhatsApp, indicating that a female police officer sought to wreck him while he was inside the car on South Quay.
He said when he got out to argue his case the wrecker moved in and jacked up the vehicle, hence the reason he jumped on it while it was being towed.
He also claimed that when the wrecker put the vehicle down at the impound lot, he got into it and drove off. He claimed police chased after him and fired shots at his vehicle.
However, police last night denied this allegation, saying Edwards was allowed to drive the vehicle away after paying the $500 fine. Police also said their colleagues had no idea Edwards was in the car until they reached the lighthouse and by then it was too late to do anything about it.
Inspector Michael Seales, President of the Police Social and Welfare Association, said he could not defend the indefensible, adding the actions of those who wrecked the vehicle with the driver were guilty of stupid-ness but said both parties were to blame for the act.
“The association says that is utter stupid-ness on both parties’ part. The person who stood up there, he put his life in jeopardy and the persons who occupied the wrecker, they are more foolish to have this man there and they conveyed that vehicle to impound.
“That is the worst thing that could have happened and it shows the police in a bad light. It’s a ridiculous thing the association has seen in quite a long while. The association lends its voice only to say you cannot defend the indefensible,” Seales said, Police said they would now have to investigate the incident.
Edwards is a PH taxi driver from Diego Martin and according to his Facebook profile, also works at Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT).
This is just another case where police officers who work on wreckers do not use their discretion or judgment.
Many people have complained about the way the wreckers work in Woodbrook and St James. Some people have stated that wreckers do not wreck vehicles around certain business establishments because they are friendly with the owners. Staff who work in these places say they are directed to supply food to the wrecker people on a daily basis.
“We park near the corner, we park badly, but we are assured the wrecker won’t go with our vehicles,” one staff at a bar added.
Other business owners who are not favoured, have noticed the favouritism displayed by the wrecking crew. “Sooner than later, things will get ugly in Woodbrook,” one owner added.