Toronto Police Constable John Zivcic, who spent the weekend fighting for his life after a motor-vehicle crash on the weekend, has died.
The 34-year-old officer was responding to an emergency call regarding a drunk driver when his cruiser collided with another vehicle near Bloor Street West and Neilson Drive. While the female driver of the other vehicle only sustained minor injuries, Constable Zivcic remained in critical condition at St. Michael’s Hospital until succumbing to his injuries at 12:35 p.m. Monday.
“He died in the line of duty doing his job and trying to keep the public safe,” Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly told reporters outside the hospital as he announced the constable’s death. “It is a sad day for all of us.”
According to police, Constable Zivcic began working as a traffic services officer for Division 22 in August 2007. He is the most recent Toronto officer to die in the line of duty since January 2011, when Sgt. Ryan Russell was run over by a man operating a stolen snowplow.
Though Police Chief Bill Blair was out of town when Constable Zivcic’s crash occurred over the weekend, Deputy Chief Sloly said the chief is “personally devastated” by the officer’s death. Deputy Chief Sloly says Chief Blair is headed back to Toronto to provide support to the Zivcic family, including the mother, brother and sister Constable Zivcic is survived by.
While the family has yet to comment, Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said “they are so overwhelmed by the amount of support in this terrible, terrible time of grieving.”
Though police released few details about the crash and the constable’s medical condition throughout the weekend, messages poured into police on Twitter and through other avenues offering support for the constable and his family.
When he visited the family at the hospital on Saturday night, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said “it wasn’t looking good.”
At city hall on Monday, he looked somber as he spoke about Constable Zivcic.
“He worked very hard,” the mayor said. “That’s why we have to support our front-line police men and women. They sacrifice their life day in and day out and it’s a very sad day today.”
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly also issued a statement that said: “On behalf of Toronto City Council and the residents of Toronto, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues. His service and courage will not be forgotten.”
Premier Kathleen Wynne relayed her sympathy in a statement saying her “heart goes out to the family and friends of Constable John Zivcic, and all of our police officers, who have suffered a devastating loss.”
She continued, “we owe him an immense debt of gratitude for his sacrifice.”
According to the police, an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash is underway.
Meanwhile, police say funeral arrangements and plans to donate Constable Zivcic’s organs are being made and will be released when more details are available.
With a report from Elizabeth Church.