Labour Day highway blitz off to inauspicious start
Published Friday, September 4, 2009 8:02PM EDT
Holiday weekend road safety got off to a bad start, with Toronto police arresting a street racer overnight and a motorist rear-ending an OPP cruiser.
The street racer had been clocked doing an alleged 139 kilometres per hour north on the DVP at about 2:40 a.m. Friday. The roadway has a limit of 90 kilometres per hour.
"Police attempted to catch up to the vehicle, northbound on the parkway, when the driver exited at the Lawrence Avenue East off-ramp. The vehicle then made a U-turn and proceeded back onto the Don Valley Parkway, northbound, to avoid being stopped by the police," police said Friday in a news release.
"The vehicle continued northbound, accelerating to 170 km/hr. The vehicle entered the Highway 401 West ramp where the driver lost control of the vehicle, colliding with the guard rail."
The 18-year-old woman fled her vehicle and hopped on a bus but was apprehended on Victoria Park Avenue near York Mills Road.
Connie Nydam of Toronto faces the following:
- dangerous operation of a motor vehicle
- fail to stop for police
- impaired driving
- fail to stop after an accident
- two counts of operating a motor vehicle while disqualified
- three counts of failure to comply with probation
- assault with intent to resist arrest
She was to appear in court on Friday morning.
CTV Toronto's Jim Junkin said a person who had been convicted of stunt driving for going 156 kilometres per hour in a 100 km/h zone got sentenced to a 45-day jail term and received a three-year driving suspension. The motorist also faces thousands of dollars in fines.
At 9 a.m. on Friday morning, an OPP cruiser had been pulled over northbound Highway 400. The officer was dealing with someone stopped for an infraction when motorist struck the cruiser from behind.
"That's why we have this 'move-over' law that came in in 2003. You're supposed to move over a lane to avoid such things like that," OPP Sgt. Dave Woodford told CTV Toronto.
"And don't panic when you see a cruiser. We're out there doing a job, and you don't have to slam on your brakes. Just keep driving and go by the scene."
Other incidents include:
- On Highway 401, a man jumped from a slow-moving van. He suffered minor injuries
- At a ramp from Highway 404 to Major MacKenzie Drive, a man suffered serious injuries went he lost control of his SUV. He suffered serious injuries, but a 10-year-old child in the vehicle only suffered minor injuries
As of Aug. 30, the OPP has investigated 199 fatal accidents on the roadways under its responsibility.
On Labour Day weekend 2008, it only had to deal with one highway fatality, but 11 in 2007.
Police will be patrolling the roadways, but at Yorkdale Mall, they set up an inspection station to check commercial vehicles for safety violations.
Sgt. Tim Burrows of the Toronto police's traffic unit said they are worried about the urban environment.
"We have a lot of pedestrians, a lot of cyclists a lot of cars that are taking advantage of a great weekend in Toronto with the air show, the last weekend of the Ex," he said.
"Be alert, be aware and be extremely cognizant of everything that's going on around you so that we have a safe time on our roads."
In a news release, police made the following suggestions:
- take public transit to the Ex
- if you're stopped for an extended period, don't be tempted to let children out of their car seats or seatbelts
- ignore any distractions in the air above you (presumably an air show reference)
Come Tuesday, motorists will also have to get used to the return of school buses to GTA roadways -- and stop when they see a bus's lights flashing.
"You can take two minutes in the morning and delay your trip into the office to wait for the school bus lights. It's all about the safety of the kids," said school bus driver Phil Sargent.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Jim Junkin