Fluke of timing saves man from getting crushed in Leslieville sidewalk crash

“I usually sit up there where those marks are on the wall,” says the man known to local residents as Jim, pointing to debris along the Queen Street East sidewalk west of Carlaw Avenue.

The damage was caused by a vehicle leaping onto the sidewalk shortly after 9 a.m. and wrecking everything in its path, including a bench, mailbox, parking metre, and Jim’s green canvas chair.

Debris from sidewalk crash
CRUSHED: Broken green chair is among debris remaining at site of sidewalk crash.

Jim is usually sitting there with his sign asking for help at that time, but today he had left the spot briefly to get his medication, he says.

“I came back here and it was all blocked off and I saw my green chair against the wall and the car was up against it,” he recalls several hours after the incident.

“If i hadn’t gone early to get my medication, I would have been paralyzed or dead.”

Toronto Police were called at 9:23 and reported on Twitter a vehicle had collided with a pole at Queen and Carlaw.

Photos posted online by witnesses show a black SUV, with a crumpled front, having come to a halt on the Queen sidewalk at Verral Avenue, a block west of Carlaw.

It appears stuck between hydro poles and the brick wall of the Shoppers Drug Mart at 970 Queen St. E. and debris is scattered around it.

The vehicle is pressed right up against the brick wall.

“I came back and I wanted to get my chair and my bag and everything and I couldn’t do it, until they moved the car,” Jim says. “I couldn’t get anything for an hour.”

He also described the other damage he found. City workers took away the busted parking metre and others worked at getting mail out of the flattened mail box and took it away.

Jim and bench at sidewalk crash site
NEW SPOT: Jim, who narrowly missed crash, sits in a new place opposite the bench clipped by the SUV that jumped the curb.

A park bench is broken further east toward Carlaw where the car apparently first hit the sidewalk.

‘Medical episode’

Police say Queen was closed from Logan Avenue to Pape Avenue in both directions for about an hour, and the northbound lane of Carlaw was closed from Eastern Avenue to Queen.

No pedestrians were reported injured in the crash.

However, the SUV driver, whose identity has not been released, received medical attention, according to police.

“It is believed the driver may have been suffering from a medical episode,” media relations officer Caroline de Kloet said. “He was seen by paramedics, and transported to hospital.”

No charges are reported to have been laid in regard to the collision at this time.

Aftermath of sidewalk crash
AFTERMATH: The scene of the crash, several hours after the vehicle had been removed.


This story has been updated on May 20 to include police statements.