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Monday, April 23, 2018
Multiple fatalities after pedestrians struck by van in Toronto: North York Yonge St between Finch Ave and Sheppard Ave
There appears to be a number of fatalities after multiple pedestrians were struck by a white van in Toronto and police say the driver has been arrested.
Toronto police said the incident happened around 1 p.m. on Monday in the area of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue.
“Reports were that a white van mounted the curb, drove down the sidewalk at southbound Yonge, south of Finch, and struck eight to 10 people possibly, the numbers aren’t confirmed yet,” Toronto police spokesperson Gary Long told Global News.
Global News observed multiple bodies covered with blankets. Police said between eight and 10 people have been injured. The extent of the injuries is unknown.
In a statement from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, seven patients have been brought to the hospital so far. Officials said the hospital’s emergency room has been locked down as a precaution.
A video posted on Twitter appears to show a standoff between the male suspect and police just before he was arrested.
The suspect appears to come out of the white van with an object in his hands pointed towards a police officer in the street. In the video, the officer could be heard shouting “get down on the ground now.” The officer walked toward the man, who dropped the object and turned around with his hands in the air. It is unclear what the object was that the suspect was holding. He was subsequently taken into custody.
Barry Mather, a delivery driver from Bolton, told Global News Radio 640 Toronto’s Kelly Cutrara that he saw a “banged up” white van while he was making a delivery on Bogert Avenue, near Yonge and Sheppard.
“I was coming out of my van and I’d look and I’d hear this scraping and grinding noise and there’s this white Ryder van coming towards me so I had to jump out of the way.”
Nick Sanka told Global News he was studying in an area Starbucks when he saw a truck “just running through.”
“I get up, and by the time I come here, I saw someone with blood trailing…”
Sanka said the van was “definitely speeding” and that the driver appeared to be in control.
“He did seem to have control over what he was doing … so it wasn’t some sort of impairment where he was swerving,” he said.
“He just [drove] straight through – and he managed to make a perfect turn at that corner as well.”
Mayor John Tory said he has spoken with Chief Mark Saunders and other city officials and is on his way to the scene.
“There has been a very tragic incident at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue,” Tory said.
“My thoughts are with those affected by this incident and the frontline responders who are working to help those injured.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a brief statement Monday afternoon in response to the incident.
“We’re just learning about the situation in Toronto now. Our hearts go out to anyone affected,” he said.
“Obviously we’re going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours.”
Global News confirmed Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Vance was briefed on the incident unfolding in Toronto. A strategic advisory alert has gone out to military commanders across the country.
Hearing a number of people have been hurt at Yonge and Finch. My thoughts are with everyone affected. We’re following the situation closely — working with our federal and municipal partners. Thank you to the first responders caring for victims and witnesses.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the rental company of the van driven by the suspect said the company is aware of the incident.
“We are saddened by this tragic event, and our deepest sympathies go out to those impacted,” Claudia Panfil, vice president of corporate communications for Ryder System, Inc., told Global News in a statement.
“We take the safety and security related to the use of our entire fleet very seriously and we are cooperating fully with authorities.”
The Toronto Transit Commission has shut down subway service between Sheppard and Finch stations due to the police investigation.
Officials said there will be no shuttle buses operating.
People who were struck by what police call a white “Ryder” van are being treated along Yonge St. At least 8-10 people struck, @JeremyGlobalTV reports some have been pronounced dead on scene. pic.twitter.com/1kgQkQe5nV
I’ve now walked up Yonge St from north of Sheppard to Finch. I have passed multiple dead bodies covered up, shoes and debris in the road. Witnesses tell me the white van appeared completely out of control. pic.twitter.com/JEWynlTmZq