A mother and her two young daughters were struck by a police patrol vehicle in Peru, prompting an enraged response from local citizens.
Juana Beatriz Ponce Garcia, 31, and her daughters, ages four and nine, were walking along a road in Cajamarca Tuesday when a police vehicle swerved onto the sidewalk and struck the trio. A nearby surveillance camera captured the incident, police said.
Ponce Garcia and her daughters were initially taken to a local hospital, but the severity of their injuries prompted doctors to have them transported to specialized care facilities in Lima.
According to officials, Ponce Garcia suffered severe bodily injuries and is in critical condition. Her 4-year-old daughter is in a coma. The young girl suffered a broken left arm and injuries to her bladder and liver. Doctors also had to amputate part of her leg. The girl's older sister has a broken nose and possible head and neck injuries. Her condition is listed as stable.
The accident angered local Peruvians, who had already been protesting a proposed plan for a U.S.-based mining company to take over a mine in Northern Peru. Protesters on the scene flipped the police vehicle over and set it ablaze. A scuffle with local law enforcement ensued. Authorities had to use tear gas and rubber pellets to disperse the mob. The entire commotion lasted about five hours.
There was initial speculation that the driver of the police vehicle, identified by local media as Milton Rojer Ayay Huaman, was drunk. However, senior administrators denied that was the case at a Wednesday press conference. Officials said no alcohol was found in the officer's blood.
The girl’s father, Daniel Oca, said he blames the officer for ruining his daughters' lives. Oca said the girls will "never again [be] the same," ElComercio.pe reported.