THE MOTHER of one of the women involved in the car crash which killed three people over the weekend questioned why it took the police so long to find the group.
Eve Smith, 21, Darcy Ross, 21, and Rafel Jeanne, 24, sadly died following the crash on the A48 between Cardiff and Newport. Sophie Russon, 20, and Shane Loughlin, 32, were injured and have been taken to hospital.
The group were last seen in the Llanedeyrn area of Cardiff at 2am on Saturday, but the car was not found until 12.15am on Monday morning.
Friends and family of the group began searching for them over the weekend as they got increasingly concerned about the ‘out-of-character’ behaviour. There were approximately 200 people out searching for the group.
They stated there had been no social media activity or contact with friends or relatives since the early hours of Saturday morning.
Anna Certowicz, Sophie Russon’s mother, said she was searching for her daughter and had driven past the crash site three times, where the car appears to have been obscured from passing traffic by nearby trees.
There have also been reports that the car was discovered by a member of the public instead of the police, however this has not been confirmed.
Police have said that they are unable to comment on the investigation while it is ongoing. South Wales Police and Gwent Police have referred the matter to the Independent Office For Police conduct.
Ms Certowicz said her daughter was “conscious some of the time” in the car and had “called out but no one was close enough to hear her.”
She said that she called the police ten times on Saturday but they told her not to worry. She claims the police told her that her daughter was “probably out partying”.
Ms Certowicz said: “They didn’t take it seriously, they kept saying she’s 20 and they are all probably out partying. I told them my daughter doesn’t go out on three-day benders, she and her friends are good girls.
“It was out of character for all of them. I was ringing the police all through Saturday and Sunday but they didn’t seem bothered. Then all of a sudden, I don’t know what happened, but the police started ringing me asking for a photograph and a description.”
She continued: “I feel terrible for the families of Eve and Darcy, they were all best friends and had known each other since they were small. It’s too awful to imagine what she went through trapped in the car in the dark until it got light and then dark again over two days. Sophie was lying there for all that time, they could all have been found much quicker if the police had started searching straight away.”
The first calls of concern made to the police were on Saturday morning. However, it was not until 11pm on Sunday night, almost an hour before the car was found, that Gwent Police put out a public appeal.
Ms Certowicz said her daughter Sophie, a trainee bank worker, is in critical but stable condition and is in hospital after undergoing surgery for a bleed on the brain and multiple fractures to her neck, spine and face.
Several friends of the group have also questioned why it took so long for the police to locate the crashed car. Tamzin Samuels, 20, spoke at the scene on Monday, saying that a search party that was out looking found the car, not the police.
She said: “They were not listening to us when we said this is not the girls. We know they like to party but they would never go out for that long and not contact any of us. Out of character and I think the police could have done a lot, lot more. No-one should have to bury their friends at 21.”
Assistant Chief Constable, Jason Davies of South Wales Police, said: “Our thoughts are with the families of all those affected by this tragic incident. Specialist officers are carrying out an investigation to piece together what has happened. Family liaison officers are supporting the families involved at what must be a hugely difficult time for them.
“To ensure independent oversight, South Wales Police has referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, as is usual in these circumstances.”