Speeding drivers, car crashes keep police busy
Published Monday, June 30, 2008 1:27PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 8:31PM EDT
It's been a busy holiday weekend for Ontario Provincial Police who have been monitoring local highways for dangerous drivers.
One police officer told CTV Toronto he laid 11 charges in three hours on Highway 400, all to speeders going at least 30 kilometres an hour over the speed limit.
"It's the unofficial start of street-racing season," said OPP Sgt. Cam Woolley. "Since Friday, 25 vehicles have been impounded. That's about double what we normally expect."
In total, police laid close to 3,000 charges over the Canada Day weekend. Many of the charges were laid against drivers who were not legally allowed to be on the road.
"We encountered more people who are prohibited drivers under the criminal code," Woolley said. "Several drivers that were apprehended were actually under lifetime bans."
Charges were also up because the OPP had a few extra eyes out. A new OPP plane, plus a rented aircraft, helped catch a number of offenders as they both patrolled the Niagara and Peterborough regions. Police say their airborne initiatives allow them to lay charges for offences that are hard to prove from the ground.
The OPP have been targeting drivers who are speeding, who are aggressive and who have neglected to put on their seatbelts.
Many people took an extended holiday to take advantage of Tuesday's statutory holiday, which means the OPP will continue to patrol the highways throughout Canada Day.
Fuel prices have not deterred drivers from going to the cottage this weekend, police noted. However, they have noticed higher prices at the pumps means fewer people are going up north just for the day.
It wasn't just cottagers keeping police busy this weekend.
In Toronto, a serious crash on the Gardiner Expressway snarled traffic early Monday morning.
The accident happened on the westbound lanes near Islington Avenue when the driver tried to cut across the collectors lanes to the express lanes.
In the process, the vehicle struck the guard rail. Two passengers are in hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the SUV is in critical condition.
Alcohol was a factor in the crash, police say. Investigators also say those in the car were possibly not wearing their seatbelts.
A number of drivers stopped to help after witnessing the accident. Police concluded their investigation and reopened the road just before 10 a.m.
In Fort Erie, a couple who were eating breakfast at a popular diner had the scare of their lives when a car came ploughing through the window.
The accident happened just after 8 a.m. Monday at the Breck-N-Ridge Diner on Highway 3. An 84-year-old driver was behind the wheel. He was not injured.
"Apparently the driver got confused, accelerated instead of breaking, and put the vehicle right through the wall and windows of the restaurant," said Jim Douglas, Fort Erie's fire chief.
"We were just sitting there having breakfast when he came in and hit the wall slowly and then backed up and gunned her again and went right through the wall," said Duane Beam whose wife Patti was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
"He just drove into the corner, she got the worst of it," he said. "I tried to get out of the way but I couldn't."
Six people were at the diner at the time. Douglas said he's surprised more people were not injured.
"I've been in this restaurant quite often at 8 a.m. and this restaurant is full," he said, adding that the long weekend is probably the reason why most people were away.
The business suffered major structural damage and will remain closed while repairs are underway.
Police have not laid any charges.
With reports from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness and Matet Nebres