Sunday, December 1, 2013
Toronto Police officer John Zivcic fighting for his life after crash
Constable John Zivcic, 34, was transported by police escort to St. Michael’s Hospital after a collision near Bloor St. and Neilson Drive around 4 p.m. Saturday.
A source said he suffered “severe” head trauma. He remains in the intensive care unit with his family by his side after undergoing multiple surgeries, said Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly.
“We hope there is further good news … but we have to keep our expectations in mind with what the current prognosis is,” Sloly told reporters outside the hospital, where dozens of fellow officers had been gathering all evening.
Sloly was acting chief Saturday night as Police Chief Bill Blair is out of the country on vacation. He said the chief is “making efforts” to return to the city and has been kept up to date and “will be engaged as soon as possible.”
Cop cars could be seen on every street corner surrounding the hospital and people — including police officers across the country — quickly turned to social media with messages of love and support for the six-year police veteran. Messages marked with “#prayforjohn” were trending on Twitter in Toronto and Sloly attributed the online outpouring of support to the “closely-knit family” of officers.
“We’ve had folks come in on their time off to be with (John) and his family and that will continue until we get a more definitive update from the medical staff,” Sloly said.
He described the officer from 22 division as “strong performing.”
“He has a good reputation amongst his peers and is looked upon by his unit commander and his management team as an up-and-coming police officer,” Sloly said.
In a Toronto Police Services story posted online about new police recruits, Zivcic spoke fondly of the job he was — at the time — only just beginning.
“The camaraderie of the job is important,” said Zivcic, who trained as a tool and die maker before becoming an officer. “I can’t imagine being part of a bigger team than in policing … I think I will grow as a person and learn a lot.”
Zivcic, who is not married and has no children, was responding to an incident on traffic duty in an unmarked police car when the collision happened.
The female driver of the other car was taken to the hospital, treated for minor injuries and then released. However, since no one else was seriously injured, the collision doesn’t meet the threshold for the province’s Special Investigations Unit to become involved, Sloly said.
However, police are investigating and a wrecked-up car could still be seen hours after the accident. The scene near Bloor St. and Neilson Drive was still taped off late Saturday night, with no estimated time of reopening.
Zivcic’s family, including his mother and two brothers who are at the hospital, are “devastated,” said Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack.
“Our concerns are with the family right now,” McCormack said. “We’re going to monitor the situation as it unfolds but again we’re just here to support the family during this terribly, terribly difficult time.”
Sombre and standing just outside the emergency entrance to St. Michael’s Hospital where Zivcic was brought in, McCormack spoke briefly of the impact police incidents have on family, colleagues and Toronto as a whole.
“We’ve spoken about this in this very location several years ago,” he said, referencing an incident almost three years ago when a fellow officer was killed after being hit by a snowplow in January 2011.
That officer, Sgt. Ryan Russell, was also taken to St. Michael’s Hospital.
“Our members are devastated by this,” McCormack said. “It’s a reality in policing … it impacts the entire police family and the entire police community.”
Zivcic is at the forefront of the minds of officers, even those unable to be here, Sloly added.
“We have officers in 22 Division that are out on the road keeping that community safe despite their thoughts and prayers being with our officer here,” he said.
“We’ll continue to do our best.”
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