Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Woman second killed by St. Clair streetcar in two weeks in Toronto

TORONTO - For the second time in less than two weeks, a pedestrian has been struck and killed by a streetcar travelling in a TTC right-of-way lane on a busy stretch of St. Clair Ave. W.

Toronto Police say the latest victim, a 73-year-old woman, was hit in The Junction — near Keele St. — around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Emergency responders arrived at the scene to find the woman’s lifeless body “pinned beneath” the streetcar, Const. David Hopkinson said Tuesday.

“The victim was vital signs absent when paramedics arrived,” he said, adding the woman was pronounced dead soon after.

Her injuries were “quite bad,” Hopkinson said.

Const. Clint Stibbe, of Traffic Services, said the senior citizen was attempting to cross St. Clair from the south to north side mid-block when she was hit by the eastbound streetcar.

Mayor Rob Ford, recently released from hospital after his first round of chemotherapy, was spotted at the scene, which prompted citizens to snap photos and post the images on social media.

The mayor told the Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington he was driving eastbound along St. Clair behind the streetcar when he came upon the accident.

Ford has long raged against the designated TTC lanes, describing them as a “disaster” and a “fiasco.”

“People hate this St. Clair (Ave. right-of-way), they hate these streetcars,” Ford told council during a the Sheppard subway debate in 2012. “You can call them what you want, people want subways ... They don’t want these damn streetcars clogging up our city.”​

At the last debate before he was hospitalized with cancer, Ford and the other mayoral candidates were confronted by a woman who claimed her husband died in hospital after being hit by a streetcar on St. Clair on Aug. 7.

After the woman left the Sept. 9 debate, Ford said, “My heart bleeds for that lady.”

More recently, on Sept. 18, a 79-year-old man was killed by a streetcar while trying to cross the right-of-way lane on St. Clair Ave. W., just east of Avenue Rd.

“The man stepped in front of the streetcar and was struck,” police said at the time. “The man suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to hospital where he died.”

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the latest fatality while it was still under investigation.

“We want to offer our sincere condolences to the victim’s family and our operator,” he said, adding such deaths are “always tragic.”

Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow also offered her sympathies to the woman’s family.”

“It’s all very sad when a person dies from an accident,” she said. “I don’t know the details as to why and how. Whether it was preventable or not, I really don’t know.”
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