Toronto’s Police Chief has confirmed that an officer who died of his injuries after an on-duty car crash was not wearing a seatbelt.
Const. John Zivcic was thrown from his cruiser on Nov. 30 when he collided with another vehicle while responding to a call, and he was pronounced dead in hospital on Dec. 2.
Chief Bill Blair told CP24 in a year-end interview that it is clear the officer wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and that it is a concern for police that officers be safe while they work.
The cause of the collision has not yet been determined and the investigation remains ongoing.
In the interview, Blair called the loss of Zivcic “a very, very difficult thing” for both the police service and the city as a whole.
Zivcic, 34, had joined the Toronto police force in 2007.
“I think it’s very clear – he was ejected from the vehicle – that he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and that’s a concern for us and for our officers,” Blair said in the interview.
“They carry a lot of equipment on their utility belt and they’re in and out of the car all the time, but that seatbelt saves lives and we want everybody to wear it,” he said.
“We want our officers wearing it and we want the members of the public to understand it’s importance, and so I think that is one of the lessons that can be drawn from the tragic circumstances of John’s passing.”
Earlier this month, Blair said the exact circumstances of the crash were still under investigation but that he was open to anything that would make officers safer, including mandating their use of seatbelts.
The woman driving the other vehicle involved in the collision suffered minor injuries.