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London - The family of a baby boy killed alongside three adults in a horrific car crash have criticised police over the high-speed chase which led to their deaths.

Adnan Ashraf Jarral, 35, died along with his one-year-old son, Usman, when a car fleeing the police smashed head-on into his people carrier in a quiet Sheffield suburb on Friday night.

Mr Jarral’s wife Tahreen was cut out of the vehicle’s mangled wreckage and is in hospital with a broken leg and back injuries.

Her 22-year-old friend, named locally as Nikola Dunova, was also in the VW Touran along with her parents Miroslav Duna, 50, and Vlasta Dunova, 41, who both died at the scene. Miss Dunova and her three-year-old daughter Livia were fighting for their lives in hospital last night.

The two families were returning home from a day trip to London when their vehicle was hit by a speeding VW Golf, which was travelling on the wrong side of the road while being chased by a police BMW.

Three men in the Golf – aged 17, 18 and 23 – were arrested at the scene and are being held in custody on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Jarral’s uncle Shafqat Mirza questioned the police’s decision to pursue the car through a residential area and said ‘the tragedy had left a gap which can never be filled’.

Mr Mirza said: ‘It may be that police ought to have laid off and let it go and found some other ways and means of chasing the car, knowing that it was a wet and dangerous road.

‘Maybe if police had handled things differently then the accident wouldn’t have happened.

‘I’m not wholly blaming the police but if there are ways and means of doing the chase in a different way, then the police ought to take that into consideration.’ Mr Jarral, described as a devoted father who was always smiling, was born in Pakistan and came to Britain as a business student. He had another son Omar, three, and stepson Abdullah, six.

The smash happened less than 50 yards from the home of the Dunova family, who are Slovakian. Mr Jarral was about to drop them off when the Golf collided with them while overtaking a bus – catapulting the people carrier into parked cars along the road.

The crash happened outside the home of Tufail Hussain, 80, who was one of the first people to get to the wreckage. He said: ‘It was just terrible. It’s the worst thing I have ever seen.’

Horrified residents of Main Road – which runs through the Darnall district of Sheffield – dashed from their houses and desperately tried to save the victims. Police praised the ‘phenomenal’ community response.

Iqbal Khan, 69, said: ‘I heard a car travelling really fast and a loud bang, which I thought was fireworks. The police seemed more concerned about arresting the lads in the Golf than helping the people in the other vehicle.

‘A midwife who lives up the road tried to resuscitate the baby. She is all shaken up.’

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said: ‘We will be carrying out an independent investigation to establish what actions South Yorkshire Police took prior to the crash.’

Detective Chief Inspector Jude Ashmore, of South Yorkshire Police, said: ‘Our priority now is to support the victims’ families and those affected, and work hard to determine the exact circumstances around what happened.’