Five people injured in downtown Toronto collision: police

Police say five pedestrians have been struck in downtown Toronto after an SUV allegedly ran a red light at a busy intersection. Investigators work the scene of an automobile collision at a downtown intersection in Toronto on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emerald Bensadoun

TORONTO:  Five women and a baby were injured after a vehicle allegedly ran a red light in the heart of Toronto‘s downtown core, city police said Thursday.

Sgt. Brett Moore of the force’s traffic services division said the resulting three-car pileup sent at least four of those hurt to hospital, with one of them listed in critical condition.

The incident was not believed to have been caused by a deliberate act, he said.

“Lots of people have questions about ‘was this an intentional act, was there something more nefarious at play?’ And I can tell you that … that’s not the case,” Moore said from the scene at the intersection of College Street and Bay Street. “It appears to be a vehicle that violated a light causing a chain reaction of events.”

Most of the injured were pedestrians but at least one driver was also among those hurt, Moore said, adding that the baby suffered only minor injuries.

Paramedics said they took four people, including the baby, to hospital, and later headed back to the scene to assess another patient who was hurt less seriously.

Moore declined to say if charges were pending, citing the early stage of the investigation, but said the driver of the first vehicle remained at the scene.

“We know that folks are very interested, and for good reason concerned about a collision of this magnitude downtown,” he said. “But trust me that we’ve got things in hand.”

The collision took place around 3 p.m. shortly before rush hour traffic typically clogs the intersection.

Moore said a Toyota Highlander was driving north at the time of the “light violation” and hit two women who were walking through the crosswalk before colliding with two westbound vehicles. Police did not elaborate on how the other people were injured.

At least one person could be seen lying on the ground near a stretcher as paramedics and police responded to the crash. At least two damaged vehicles could be seen in the intersection, which was cordoned off by police tape.

Kevin Veliz, 24, said he was driving his truck west through the intersection and found himself in the thick of the melee.

“All I remember seeing is two people here hitting my truck,” he said, adding that the pedestrians appeared to have been struck by another vehicle first. “As soon as they hit them, they ran right into my truck. T-boned me.”

Moore said the area around the crash scene was slated to be closed for several hours

He said he was confident police would be able to recreate more details of the collision from video footage near the scene as well as eye-witness accounts, and urged anyone who may have seen what happened to come forward.