Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More On Pedestrian Fatalities

Police concerned after latest pedestrian death

A 76-year-old woman was hit while carrying a bag of chicken breasts across Rutherford Road near Highway 400 yesterday afternoon. The driver of the van was uninjured and remained at the scene.

York Region police Sgt. Steve Kempster said he was “concerned by the busy start to the year” for pedestrian fatalities.

“Sometimes it’s the fault of the pedestrian and sometimes it is the driver,” he said as officers collected the woman’s groceries from the road. “You’re always going to lose against a vehicle.”

York police were still investigating the Rutherford Road collision last night, but didn’t believe charges were likely.

Kempster, of the traffic reconstruction unit, said the 76-year-old woman began crossing the six lanes of Rutherford Road when traffic was stopped, but the light turned green before she finished. Cars idling in the two left lanes waited for her to finish, but an approaching van in the third lane didn’t see her, Kempster said.

“We can’t tell you when she entered the crosswalk or how long it took her,” Kempster said, adding witnesses to the accident should contact police. “We don’t know what transpired, maybe she dropped to pick something up in the middle.”

Kempster said the 29-year-old driver of the van was shaken.

Bonnie MacDonald, who crosses Rutherford Road everyday, said it is difficult to cross in time, especially with cars coming off Highway 400.

“I usually have to hustle and I’m not a slow walker,” she said. “They need to reprogram it.”

Coun. Bill Saundercook, co-chair of the Toronto Pedestrian Committee, believes walk signs give enough time for seniors to cross streets. “I think what needs to be looked into is whether vehicle operators are making pedestrians nervous by trying to take turns too quickly,” he said.

Woman struck and killed in west end; GTA's 10th such death in 8 days

Another pedestrian has been struck and killed by a vehicle on a Toronto street - the Greater Toronto Area's 10th pedestrian fatality in eight days.

The latest incident happened early today in the city's northwest end, near Dufferin Street south of Eglinton Avenue.

Police say the woman was trying cut across the road when the driver of a minivan hit her while trying to swerve out of the way.

The unidentified woman was pronounced dead due to severe head injuries.

Const. Hugh Smith says the driver had just come over the crest of a hill in the pre-dawn darkness and spotted the woman on the road and tried to take evasive action.

The female driver, who is a doctor, tried to perform CPR on the pedestrian, but to no avail.

Deadly Combo

Pedestrians, drivers both to blame for deaths: cops

A rash of pedestrian fatalities in the Toronto area had experts sounding the alarm Wednesday about the deadly combination of reckless drivers and aloof pedestrians competing for space on crowded city streets.

"They're blinded with their hoods. They've got their earphones on. They've blocked out any awareness," Toronto police Const. Hugh Smith said about pedestrians, who are often tuned into their MP3 players instead of traffic signals.

But drivers weren't off the hook either.

"We've made it our secondary comfort zone," said Smith, as he described the laid-back behaviour of many motorists who play loud music, eat in their cars and think they can multi-task while driving.

The number of pedestrians killed by cars has become a cause for concern for police. On Wednesday morning, another person died after being struck by a vehicle. It was the 10th pedestrian fatality in eight days in the Greater Toronto Area.

The latest death happened in the city's northwest end. A woman was trying to cut across a road when she was hit by a minivan.

Police said such accidents can be caused by hurried people scurrying out onto the street against a light, and aggressive drivers speeding along, unaware of their surroundings.

In 2009, the total number of fatalities in car accidents in the city was 48. But 31 of those deaths involved pedestrians and 19 of those were senior citizens.

"What the unsettling part is, is that our pedestrian numbers went up," explained Smith.

In 2008, there were 54 vehicle fatalities in total, while 27 pedestrians were struck and killed. While the numbers seem close, Smith said it is in fact "a noticeable spike."

Smith said the mild winter has given motorists a false sense of security as they whip around on the roads.

During rush hour, people on city sidewalks also have a herd mentality and move in masses across the street without bothering to check if they have the right of way.

"We have aggressive drivers, but we also have aggressive pedestrians. We have pedestrians who will not wait for a fresh light," he said.

Ward Vanlaar, a research scientist for the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, said a 2009 report completed by the organization on vulnerable road users showed a reason for concern.

Vanlaar said the current number of fatalities in Toronto for this year may not indicate a statistical trend, but national data shows there has been a significant number of pedestrians killed by vehicles.

"There's really a lot of pedestrians dying in road crashes," said Vanlaar. "In Canada in 2006, there were 374 pedestrian fatalities accounting for 12.9 per cent of all road user fatalities," he said, referring to the most recent data.

A public opinion poll conducted by the organization showed Canadians are lax when it comes to pedestrians and their safety.

"Canadians are not overly concerned about pedestrians and cyclists behaving unsafe on the road," said Vanlaar.

According to the poll, Canadians considered jaywalking the second least risky behaviour for road users, despite its often fatal consequences.

While pedestrians and drivers may squabble over who's following the rules of the road, Vanlaar said it's little consolation for someone who is dealing with a tragedy.

"Discussing the fact whether you were right or not is not really relevant when you're the most vulnerable road user, because you may be right, but if you were dead and right it doesn't make a difference."

Brian Patterson from The Ontario Safety League said along with mutual respect between drivers and pedestrians, he would also like to see better driver education.

"You could have Canada's worst driver as your teacher," said Patterson, adding that only 20 per cent of motorists have attended a driving school.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Traffic Deaths for the beginning of the Year

Keep Eyes on the Road: Cops

Police urge caution after deadly week on the road

Drivers in the GTA need to snap out of cruise control and use their eyes instead of relying on the gadgets in their cars, police are saying in the wake of a rash of accidents in the past week that killed pedestrians.

“What’s happened in just a few days shows us what’s going on, and we really do not want to continue in this path,” said Const. Hugh Smith, of traffic services.

Thursday morning, a 25-year-old woman was pronounced dead at Steeles Avenue West and Hurontario Road in Brampton after a transit bus hit her.

Tuesday in Vaughan, Steven Seixeiro, 17, was hit by a semi-trailer turning the corner at Rutherford Road and Keele Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hours later, Vaughan resident Nouhad-Nicolas Al-Kassouf, 80, was struck by a car while crossing at Roncesvalles Avenue and Dundas Street West. Her head hit the pavement. She died in hospital Wednesday morning.

But Smith said the death of 28-year-old mother Marites Mendoza Tuesday “scared everybody.”

Mendoza was pushing her seven-week-old son in a stroller when a car allegedly ran a red light and hit her while she was crossing Martin Grove Road at Eglinton Avenue West. Mendoza managed to push her baby out of harm’s way, but was pronounced dead at the scene.

Highlighted Below are more on the victims in this article.

Woman struck and killed by Brampton Transit bus
A woman is dead after she was struck and killed by a bus in Brampton Thursday morning.
Police say the pedestrian was hit while crossing the bus loop off Steeles Avenue, just west of Hurontario Street at about 6:30 a.m.
Nobody aboard the transit bus was injured and a major accident reconstruction unit was called to investigate, police say.

'Great kid' among four pedestrians killed or injured

Steven Seixeiro was a studious and ambitious student en route to Vaughan's St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School when the 17-year-old became the first of four pedestrians to be killed or seriously injured in a day that kept traffic officers busy across the GTA.
The Grade 12 student was changing buses at Rutherford Rd. and Keele St. around 9 a.m. As he crossed Keele, a semi-trailer came up from behind and ran him over as it made a right turn. Seixeiro was pronounced dead at the scene.
On Tuesday evening, Seixeiro's family remembered him for his sociable, peaceful demeanour, as well as his love of computers.
"He just got along with everybody, he was never an argumentative kind of guy," said his sister, Jennifer, 24. "He was doing really well in school – the teacher gave him a certificate of excellence."
His godfather, Fernando Abade, said the computer-savvy teen often used Twitter, and was also interested in music and played the guitar.
He said Seixeiro considered taking computer engineering at university.
"He was a great kid, always stayed out of trouble," said Abade, adding his godson never missed school.
Police closed the intersection at Rutherford and Keele for about six hours as they reconstructed the crash and gathered evidence. Detectives are still trying to figure out who had the right of way.
Officers have not decided whether to charge the driver of the truck, a 29-year-old Brantford man.
Within a few hours, a 28-year-old woman had been killed crossing the street in Etobicoke and an 80-year-old woman suffered serious head injuries after she was hit by a car at Roncesvalles Ave. and Dundas St. W. Another elderly woman suffered a broken leg when she was struck at Cedar Dr. and Eglinton Ave. E.
Const. Hugh Smith, a Toronto traffic officer, speculated that the unusual number of serious accidents on Tuesday may be related to the nice weather. "Here you finally have a nice, sunnier day, when it's okay to go for a walk," he said.
Woman, 80, dies from injuries after car hits her

An 80-year-old woman who was hit by a car in Roncesvalles Village Tuesday has died in hospital, becoming the third injured pedestrian to die in the GTA in just over 24 hours.
Nouhad-Nicolas Al-Kassouf, a resident of Vaughan, was walking west across the y-shaped intersection of Roncesvalles Ave. and Dundas St. W. shortly after 1 p.m. with her 42-year-old son, Najou Kassouf.
A southbound van rounded the corner to head east onto Dundas and hit the pair, police said. The elderly woman was thrown to the ground, where she hit her head and lost consciousness.
Her son hurt his wrist and his back. Both were taken to hospital.
Najou was treated and released. Nouhad-Nicolas was stabilized and kept breathing as she was treated, raising initial hopes that she might recover, but she died Wednesday morning shortly before 11 a.m.
The van that hit the pair had a green arrow and the right of way at the time of the crash, police said.
The spot where the woman was hit is a popular route for people to cross the intersection, but a sign clearly warns pedestrians against it, telling them to take a lengthier route to the south that involves using two separate crosswalks, said Const. Hugh Smith, a Toronto traffic officer.
He said it was unlikely that the driver of the van, a 20-year-old man, would be charged.
The woman was one of three pedestrians to be killed on streets in the GTA Tuesday.
Around 9 a.m., Steven Seixeiro, 17, was on his way to school in Vaughan when he was hit by a semi-trailer turning the corner at Rutherford Rd. and Keele St. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Around 1 p.m., Marites Mendoza, 31, was crossing Martin Grove Rd. at Eglinton Ave. W., pushing her 7-week-old son in a stroller in front of her, when a Toyota Camry allegedly ran a red light and hit her.
She died at the scene. Police have not said whether they will charge the driver of the Camry, an 83-year-old woman.

No criminal charge for elderly motorist who allegedly ran down mother pushing stroller: police

Posted: January 15, 2010, 12:11 PM by Rob Roberts
By Alana Power, National Post

The 83-year-old motorist who allegedly killed a mother pushing her baby in a stroller Tuesday is not likely to face criminal charges, Toronto police said today.

Edith Lucille Jones was driving north on Martin Grove Rd. when she ran a red light at Eglinton Avenue West, dragging Marites Mendoza, 31, under her car. Ms. Mendoza is presumed to have pushed the stroller out of harm’s way, saving her infant son.

That son, and reportedly a second Mendoza child, are now in the custody of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

Const. Hugh Smith said charges will likely be laid under the Highway Traffic Act, possibly failing to stop at a red light, or careless driving. Ms. Jones faces a fine and up to six demerit points on her licence.

“We have to look at all the circumstances,” said Const. Smith. “What we know we have is failing to stop at a red light. It may go dangerous in the next week, but that is not the information that I have.”

While not criminal, these charges should not be taken lightly, said Const. Smith, of Traffic Services: “Careless is quite a hard charge for driving.’’

For the charges to be criminal, police would have to prove intent, he said. Investigators are still talking to witnesses who were driving through the intersection when the accident occurred and speaking with a Crown prosecutor.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

28 murder victims - 28 killers at large

Below is a List of the murders that the killers have not been found for 2009
reported by the toronto sun.

Toronto Police are still on the hunt after a bloody year left 62 people slain in the city
Last Updated: 3rd January 2010, 4:48am

Of Toronto's 62 murders of 2009, there are 28 slayings left unsolved. The victims are:

Jan. 4: Evelyn Alfaro Mendez, 34
Mendez was shot in the head in an SUV on Talwood Dr. after driving three cousins home to Toronto and visiting her boyfriend, before heading to a nightclub she never reached.
Detectives, who hoped her partying with girlfriends and dancing at Latino clubs might provide clues, said the Malton mother of three had no ties to the Leslie St. and Lawrence Ave. E. residential area where she died. The second victim of 2009 was found in the still-running vehicle that was registered to another person.

Jan. 16: Kevin Boateng, 18
With no witnesses, motive or crime scene, the ex-Bishop Marrocco-Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School student's stabbing remains a mystery.
"Kasa," who had brushes with police but no criminal record, died in hospital two days after flagging down a passerby just before midnight, then collapsing on Davenport Rd., east of Old Weston Rd. Detectives believe he was attacked nearby.

Jan. 20: Basil 'Bizzy' Bryan, 23
The second 2009 victim of deadly violence in 12 Division was shot twice in the back at Keele St. and Avon Dr., south of Eglinton Ave. W.
A father for eight months, he and a pal went for a meal around 10 p.m. and were filmed walking by a business security camera as a lone gunman opened fire. Det.-Sgt. Savas Kyriacou said the "ambush" left the quiet young man dead and his friend luckily ducking then running before the killer strolled away.

Feb. 1: Jahmelle Grant, 26
Silent witnesses who saw Grant shot in an alleged Weston Rd.-Lawrence Ave. W. area booze can packed with patrons have frustrated homicide officers and left relatives angry.
A father of one who had brushes with the law but whose family denied he had gang ties, Grant was driven to a hospital by friends. They refused to talk to investigators.

Feb. 22: Peter Joel 'Bugz' Bowen, 20
The award-winning city track-and-field and cross-country competitor was shot by two gunmen in the lobby of the Driftwood Ave. apartment building where he lived with his family.
Police said Bowen was with two friends when bullets riddled a hallway and steel doors as he ran for his life, collapsing just outside the Jane-Finch area building. Rough remarks suggested he and the shooter had clashed before.

Feb. 28: Kaser Kerry St. Louis, 24
St. Louis was shot dead, then run over outside the Little Ochie Bar and Restaurant on Kennedy Rd. north of Lawrence Ave. E.
Police released two video surveillance segments related to a wild melee inside that spilled outdoors and ended with two other men wounded. Detectives say witnesses remain silent.

April 22: Omar Leyson Waite, 29
The Gators member in Toronto's gang-plagued northwest died one day after being shot several times near rush-hour traffic at a Jane St. and Eglinton Ave. W. bus stop.
Waite had a lengthy record for assault, weapons and violence, and died two days after a rival Generals gang member was gunned down in an alley.

May 1: Jarvis St. Remy, 18
The high school student and aspiring engineer was heading home for his midnight curfew when a gunman left him dying in a Dundas St. W. bus stop west of Scarlett Rd.
Described by relatives and friends as reserved, studious and devoted to family, he died in hospital. Since her first-born's death, his mom Clemee Joseph has made repeated appeals for youths to avoid violence.

May 11: Adrian Johnston, 14
The youngest of this year's unresolved murder victims was gunned down on a Scarlett Rd.-St. Clair Ave. area hydro field one day after Mother's Day.
In August, his mom was joined in a vigil by 30 people on the field for what should have been her son's 15th birthday, saying "the sick individual who took Adrian from us is still walking the streets -- Adrian is not able to do that." Stephanie Johnston also lamented the lack of calls to police by people she was certain know who killed the Runnymede Collegiate Institute student.

June 7: Ayoob Abdulgadir Aden, 16
Well-known and liked in a Dixon Rd.-Kipling Ave. neighbourhood complex, the teen was visiting an aunt there when he was stabbed -- the last male in the shattered world of his grieving mom and three sisters.
Responding to a neighbour's call, police found him in the lobby of the building where he was with two friends in an apartment when an argument erupted with a fourth person. His two wounded friends survived, but the young teen -- whose father vanished and brother died during strife 17 years ago in Africa -- died a day later.

July 10: Kristian 'Kristy' Thanapalan, 22
Six men and a woman drinking and passing a volleyball in Glamorgan Park on Antrim Cres. in Scarborough got into an argument when one of the victim's friends threw the ball at a car after cricket players began speeding from a parking lot.
An hour later, up to 35 men with bottles and bats swarmed Thanapalan and his pals, whose female friend was sleeping in a car. The aspiring York University student died from a blow to the back of his head and several friends suffered bruises and cuts. Police have narrowed their search for the killer after interviewing his friends, but are still trying to crack their "group mentality."

July 19: Tevon Mitchell, 18
The year's first fatal victim of a drive-by shooting died outside a packed upscale Scarborough mansion while attending a birthday party.
Known as "T-Pain" or "Tevo," he was found on the driveway of the Rouge Hills Dr. home near Port Union Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E. just before 2 a.m. A West Hill Collegiate Institute student, Mitchell was among more than 80 guests inside and outside before the shots were fired and two cars drove off.

Aug. 1: Wesler 'Tyson' Fabien, 25
The Ottawa resident and a Montreal pal were shot around 4:30 a.m. outside the Howard Johnson on Avenue Rd. after a night of partying with friends in the Entertainment District.
The lone gunman waited in their hotel parking lot as they parked their silver Range Rover, then ran off after triggering his gun several times. Fabien died in hospital, his friend survived.

Aug. 10: Tevane Sean Anthony Lennon, 34
The furniture store worker was cycling home with groceries when he was confronted near Melody Park by a gunman outside a car occupied by at least two people on Sultan Pool Dr., near Martin Grove Rd. and Finch Ave. W., just before 11 p.m.
Lennon begged for mercy before the shooter fired more than a dozen bullets. The father of a three-year-old was gunned down near where another man survived being shot July 31 in crime-plagued Jamestown.

Sept. 2: Jamie 'J' Hull, 30
The drifter was reportedly shot close-up in the back in the courtyard of an eastside housing complex.
Investigators said they did not know why he was in the Blake St. complex, near Danforth and Pape Aves., where he once lived, but confirmed Hull was being sought for threatening to shoot a woman and her family. A man was seen running away.

Sept. 5: Kamal 'Tall-up' Hercules, 21
After spending the evening with friends, the first of two Labour Day weekend murder victims was shot outside a Rabba Fine Foods store at Sherbourne and Front Sts.
A month later, following "great co-operation" from area residents, police released surveillance photos of a potential witness to the 3:45 a.m. shooting. Hercules had no criminal history and no apparent beefs with anyone, a detective said.

Sept. 7: Sheldon Henry, 23
Hit by multiple slugs in a North York housing complex, the well-known drug dealer had a lengthy criminal record for sexual assaults, weapons and drug offences, and boasted on Facebook of his profitable exploits.
The father of two was left slumped in a doorway outside a lowrise Field Sparrow Way building northwest of Leslie St. and Finch Ave. E. Witnesses reported hearing an argument and people running from the complex, where he lived until June but regularly returned to do business.

Oct. 10: Bernard Christian Derro, 19
The teenager was one of seven people shot over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Derro, the only one killed, was found in the lobby of his Parkdale building on Jameson Ave., south of King St. W., around 11:30 p.m. Police suspect a shooter got into a first-floor apartment by a balcony, argued, then opened fire, leaving a second man wounded.

Oct. 18: Christopher Skinner, 27
Newmarket lawyer Warren Skinner and his wife, Ellen, last month offered a $25,000 reward raised by relatives, friends and colleagues, and made a desperate bid for help to find the driver who deliberately ran down their son.
Toronto Police are still seeking occupants of an SUV who confronted him at Adelaide and Victoria Sts., perhaps for touching the vehicle as it passed. He was walking home from sister Taryn's birthday party in the Entertainment District around 3 a.m. when at least two men knocked him down, then drove over him.

Nov. 2: Theodoros Tiku, 27
Known as "Freshie" on the streets and to police who watched his exploits as a youth in Regent Park, Tiku was shot repeatedly in the head by a suspected rival gang member on Gough Ave., near Pape and Danforth Aves.
The Silent Soldiers gang leader's bodyguard was on the wrong side of the Don River, on turf occupied by the breakaway Point Blank Souljahs. Det. Mike Carbone said Tiku appeared to have been targeted by his killer.

Nov. 11: Robert Flagiello, 18
Family and friends will have no trouble remembering last Remembrance Day, when the teenager was hit by a stray bullet fired by a man in the middle of a west-end street.
Gunfire erupted after Flagiello left an Oakwood Ave.-Vaughan Rd. area recording studio around 8:30 p.m. and an uncle said the rapper --who had just moved back into the area to help his single mom raise his two brothers -- collapsed after getting friends safely inside. Five men arrested in a nearby barbershop were later released.

Nov. 17: Alexander Rodney Rundle, 28
Known as Alex, the 7th homicide victim of November was shot several times in the chest during a violent Etobicoke home invasion in the Kipling Ave.-Dixon Rd. area.
Around 7:30 p.m., three masked gunmen burst into the 129 Wincott Dr. bungalow, where four people lived, including Rundle and his father Bill, owner of Rundle's Contracting where his son worked. Another tenant, whose name wasn't released, escaped with a minor wound, wearing only his underwear.

Nov. 22: Shane Kelter, 32
Assassinated by a gunman near an upscale Toronto condo, the Independent Soldiers gangster from Vancouver was sought by police in California, where he was indicted in 2008 as a kingpin on conspiracy, money-laundering and drug charges along with two other Toronto men and three other Canadians.
Kelter and Vancouver friends spent the night at an Exhibition Place club and had just left their limousine to visit a friend's condo when a gunman approached, opened fire, dropped his handgun and ran off. The motive for his shooting on St. Joseph St. remains unknown, but abandoning such a weapon is a gangland hitman-style trademark.

Nov. 22: Alton Reid, 35
The Malvern Crew member formerly with the Versace Crew died one day after being shot in the head in a gang-related attack during a birthday party at the Atlanta Banquet Hall.
About 200 people were in the Ellesmere Rd. hall when bullets from at least two guns fired by men who bought tickets to the party felled him and left four "innocent bystanders" with lesser injuries, Det. Paul Worden said. The Pickering father of one was acquitted after his arrest during a 2004 police sweep of the Malvern Crew, but had a 2003 record for possessing a gun.

Dec. 3: Aeon 'Gates' Grant, 19
An apparent ambush left the teen with a fatal head wound and three "friends" injured after being targeted by a gunman in a stairwell of a North York public housing highrise where Toronto Police later focused on a crackhouse for possible clues.
Det.-Sgt. Gary Giroux called the shooting just before midnight on the 15th floor of 30 Falstaff Ave., near Jane St. and Hwy. 401, a "very focused attack on these individuals," who were left with nowhere to escape. Of the three survivors who ran off, two 17-year-olds were found in a nearby plaza and a 25-year-old walked into a hospital.

Dec. 7: Laura Rios-Gleggro, 45
The shooting of the Colombia-born businesswoman and mother of three, who for 20 years ran a shipping business between Canada, Ecuador and her homeland, was all-the-more chilling since she was slain while tending to her little daughter.
Emma, 2, was unhurt in the backseat of her mom's truck when the owner of Rios Envios was ambushed around 8:45 p.m. by a waiting gunman outside her Weston apartment building north of Lawrence Ave. In a letter on colombiaenlondon.com, she said two Colombians in November 2008 offered to develop a computer program for her firm but she lost $10,000 in the venture and customers were ripped off after her client and business database was stolen.

Dec. 9: Tafari 'Tuff' Spear, 30
A gangster arrested in 2003 during a police sweep of the Tretheway Gangsta Killers died in a hail of bullets that left a suspected rival street gang member wounded, police say.
The shooter and 50 patrons in the Classic Cocktails bar on Wilson Ave. fled after the shooting, and Det.-Sgt. Wayne Banks said only a handful of people bothered to contact police later. Uncertain if Spear was targeted for his gang links, Banks was particularly keen to talk to three women who were with the victim when he was shot.

Dec. 29: Kenneth Mark, 29
Captured on surveillance videos, a gunman and his lookout are sought after Toronto's last murder victim of the year was shot in the back of the head around 10 p.m. while heading home in the Gilmour Ave.-Dundas St. W. area with a pizza slice after his Wal-Mart shift.
The 6-foot-5 "gentle giant" was an activist who worked with police to protect the Junction area from violence. Shot with a pellet gun in 2008 after asking two men not to bring firearms near a playground, friends believe he was targeted for standing up to thugs and Det. Hank Idsinga said police believe the killers mapped out Mark's nightly routine.