Saturday, January 23, 2010

11 Fatalities, 11 Days in GTA

Man on crutches fatally injured by dump truck

Pedestrians resumed crossing against red flashing signals in a Riverdale intersection soon after paramedics removed a man’s body just after mid-day Friday.

The 57-year-old, a student at nearby City Adult Learning Centre (CATC), is the GTA’s 10th pedestrian killed on streets within 11 days.

His name was not released.

Toronto Police Traffic Sgt. Tim Burrows said the victim was walking east on the south side of Danforth Ave., on a green light around 11:30 a.m. when he was hit by a large eastbound dump truck that turned south onto Broadview Ave.

His crutches lay next to the body near a sidewalk curb outside a Pizza Pizza outlet.

As a reporter waited on a north sidewalk at the intersection in mid-afternoon, a woman clutching her young son’s hand crossed to the south side, where only a small police chalked cross marked where the pedestrian fell. A cyclist then pedalled north.

Both adults ignored the blinking red-hand-shaped no-crossing signals.

At mid-day, as police took measurements and photos, CALC student Max McGowan, 18, said too many pedestrians “cross when they’re not supposed to.”

CATC guidance counsellor Anita Sachanska said the victim enrolled last week for his next classes.

“I used to see him in the hallway,” she said, adding “he was very friendly ... he said hello to everybody.”

Program leader Ray Wolf said he was “cheerful, but had difficulty getting around” to lower hall classrooms and on nearby streets.

Principal Mike Rethazi said he “made an announcement to the students to be careful when they are out,” then held a staff meeting.

He didn’t know the man, “but we all felt pretty awful. It’s been very traumatic.”

This was the first such fatality at the school, which has more than 2,000 students, Rethazi said.

The school’s flag was lowered to half-mast.

The driver of the Gio Contracting Inc. truck stopped 80 metres south of the intersection, where vehicles were barred by police for about an hour.

This was the fifth pedestrian-vehicle fatality on city streets since Jan. 1, compared to two by the same time in 2009, Burrows said, adding 31 were killed last year.

Three other pedestrians were struck by vehicles in Toronto through the day, none fatally.

• A woman in her 30s hit on an Allen Expressway ramp at Lawrence Ave. around 7 a.m. had head injuries.

• A man stepping off a Bathurst streetcar at College St. had undisclosed minor injuries.

• A woman was clipped by the mirror of a car making a turn at Martin Grove Ave. and Steeles Ave.

“The biggest factor is human error by both pedestrians and drivers,” Burrows said. “And most of these cases seem to happen on days like this, clear skies, good visibility and dry roads.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility,” he said.

Burrows said streets “are only as safe as people choose.”

Investigators asked anyone with information to contact police at 416-808-1900 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.


  1. I'm not surprised by this ridiculous news article that blames the pedestrian for his death when it is very clear that he had the right-of-way.

    This is the exact attitude that has created this problem and allows it to continue without any consequences. Nowhere in the article does it mention that automobiles need to be more careful when turning at intersections.

    Tim, as a police officer you should be ashamed of yourself for ignoring the source of the problem. Drivers who don't yield to pedestrians when they have the right-of-way should be charged. Every single day I see cars rolling fast through red lights while turning right with very little time to stop if a pedestrian happened to be there.

    I know traffic flow is more important to you than saving innocent lives, but you can't ignore this forever.

    Vehicles cause death, not pedestrians, and by unfairly putting the blame on the pedestrian who did nothing wrong, you are insulting the deceased and disrespecting his mourning family.


  2. it's ridiculous how many fatalities there were in toronto in a short period of time. I was driving downtown for a short period of time today, and in that time over 15 people j-walked dangerously close in front of my car. Also uptown today, i got honked at for stopping for a pedestrian who was already in the middle of the road trying to cross. both sides have to be cautious and safe and it's obviously not happening. i just hope people realize this before the fatalities get any higher..

  3. James;
    Thank you for taking the time to post here.
    It is never my intent to sound like I am putting blame on anyone in a collision. I talk about what happened in the event, I discuss causal factors and I relate those events to prevention principles.
    I can't change what happened to an event I am at, but by talking about it I might be able to prevent another one from happening.
    I stand by the fact that no one should ever feel invincible because of a perceived "right of way".
    Assuming that you are safe to walk without looking because of the shade of a light is a sure way to be injured or killed.
    Pedestrians have to ensure that they can walk and continue to assess their safety as they cross.
    None of this is to take away from the other fact...drivers have to obey ALL the laws that protect road users of every stripe, never move without first looking and yielding to road users that do have lawful place on the road.