By: Adriana Di Santo
A total of four pedestrians have been killed in the city’s east end within the last 24 hours after being struck by vehicles.
“Three out of four of these incidents were due to mid-block crossing,” Const. Clinton Stibbe said. “It was a contributing factor.”
The first collision involved a mother and her five-year-old daughter. They were killed after crossing a busy intersection at Warden and Continental on Wednesday night. A father and his two-year-old son also crossed the same intersection, but managed to make it across safely.
Toronto Police Const. Joe McDougall told Humber News on Thursday that the family of four was crossing mid-block on Warden, south of Continental.
“The mom and five-year-old were going from the west side to the east side where they were struck by a northbound vehicle, then were thrown into the southbound lanes,” McDougall says. “The mother was struck by another vehicle in the southbound lane.”
Police are still searching for a black Honda Civic that fled the scene after the 32-year-old was hit by an Audi A4 then subsequently hit by the Honda going southbound on Warden.
Kim McKinnon, the Superintendent of Public Information and Media for Toronto Paramedic Services, said that the mother and daughter were rushed to a nearby trauma centre where they were soon after pronounced dead.
“An investigation is still going on. There is no determination on charges yet,” Stibbe said.
Another collision involved a 50-year-old man that was pinned under a truck at 4:30 p.m. When paramedics arrived, the man was found unconscious. He was pronounced dead at the scene. One person is in custody while two others were left with minor injuries.
The third incident happened around 9:40 p.m. at Steeles Ave. E. and McCowan Rd. A pedestrian was hit by an impaired driver while standing at a bus stop.
Const. Stibbe said that it is very rare for police to make recommendations to the city about adding crosswalks or traffic lights to undesignated intersections.
Pedestrians are usually relatively close to intersections with designated crosswalks or traffic lights. Stibbe said mid-block crossing is a decision that is ultimately made by the pedestrian, but road design could play a small role.
City Council Norm Kelly said there was an email sent by a local resident about adding a crosswalk on Warden and Continental.
“I immediately passed the email on, but the city said it wouldn’t put a cross walk on that intersection because of how wide the road is,” Kelly said. “But what they said they could do was add traffic lights.”
Kelly learned from Toronto Police Traffic that the mother and daughter were killed.
“A family is just destroyed within seconds,” Kelly said. “I’ll make sure that intersection is analyzed by not only the city, but locals in the area.”
Kelly explained that these collisions are “mind-boggling.”
“We live in an age where time and convenience trumps everything else,” Kelly said. “If people can cross the street without going further than you have to, they will no matter what age group. I could not stop thinking about it, I hope we can all learn from this.”
A construction team just began an assessment on Warden and Continental where the 32-year-old mother and her five-year-old daughter were killed.
Kanisha Ananthan lives in the residential area and says mid-block crossing occurs frequently at Warden and Continental because of the distance to the traffic lights where there is a designated crossway. It’s about four minutes away from the intersection.
“It’s definitely better to just walk up to the traffic light at Ellesmere,” Ananthan said. “What happened was tragic. A family is torn apart.”
Police are asking anyone who may have been at the scene prior or after the collision involving the mother and her five-year-old to contact the authorities at 416-808-1900, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.