Saturday, March 14, 2009

Streetcar tragedy

Toronto Sun

An elderly woman has died after being hit by a TTC streetcar in East Chinatown yesterday.
Toronto Police say the 85-year-old pedestrian was walking across Gerrard St. E. at Degrassi St., a block east of Broadview Ave., just after 9 a.m. when she was struck by the westbound trolley.
A small section of Gerrard St. E. was closed for several hours as investigators gathered evidence in an effort to determine what happened.
"At this point in time, we do have some conflicting statements as to the exact cause and direction of travel," Sgt. Tim Burrows, of the Traffic Services Unit, said.
The senior was crossing at or near a crosswalk, but it appears the lights were not activated, he said.
The victim was whisked to St. Mike's hospital in critical condition and her family rushed to her bedside.
While her name was not immediately released, Burrows said she lives nearby.
Eight people have died in traffic fatalities in Toronto so far this year.
Five witnesses came forward to police following the accident. But it's unclear if they were on the streetcar or just passing by.
It's believed there may have been cars passing the streetcar at the time in the curb lane, which is illegal at a crosswalk.
Police would like to talk to those drivers, not to lay charges but to find out what they witnessed, Burrows said.
"(Their information) is going to be critical to our investigation," he said.
Investigators are also reviewing surveillance video seized from a camera mounted in the streetcar to see if it captured the incident.
The streetcar driver was left "shaken" by the accident and he will be offered counselling by the TTC, Burrows said.
Anyone with information should call 416-808-1900 or 416-222-TIPS.

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