A woman in her 50s was killed in what Toronto police say was a head-on collision between a cube van and a TTC bus on Steeles Avenue East near Middlefield Road this morning.
TPS received calls at 11:30 a.m. from pedestrians and drivers reporting the accident.
“It was a loud bang, man, I thought it was a bomb,” said local shop-keeper Ram Persaud.
He ran out and bumped into a regular customer of his, who said he had seen the bus at the stop on the north-east corner of Steeles and Middlefield when it was hit.
“He said the truck was going east and tried to make a left and ran into the bus,” Mr. Persaud said.
A passenger in a truck parked near the bus, Karan Shetti, told the CBC that he saw the driver of the truck on a cellphone just before the accident. Police have not confirmed that was the case.
TTC spokesman Brad Ross said that there were originally 13 injured, but that one person succumbed to their injuries at the scene. “We sent 12 to the hospital,” Mr. Ross said.
The woman who died of her injuries at the scene was in her 50s, said EMS Superintendent Brayden Hamilton-Smith. One of the drivers is in life-threatening condition.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford extended his condolences to the victims involved in the accident Tuesday.
“On behalf of City Council and all Toronto residents, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased at this difficult time,” Mayor Ford said. “I am very saddened to hear about this tragic accident.”
EMS confirmed two of those transported to hospital were the drivers of the bus and the cube van. One patient was transported with life-threatening injuries, two others with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, and the rest with minor injuries.
A chef of at a local restaurant said he didn’t see the accident happen, but he saw the aftermath.
Devon Facey said he was working at Negril Jerk Food when “the power went out.”
He came out of the restaurant and said, “It was panic.”
Constable Clint Stibbe said it appears from reports the bus was stopped while heading west and the woman who died at the scene was preparing to exit the bus when the cube van travelling eastbound appears to have lost control and hit the bus head on.
Until the accident reconstruction team can investigate at the scene, Constable Stibbe said nothing is certain. Previous reports had said there were between 15 and 17 injured.
Victor Kwong, a spokesman for TPS, said that the number of injured and details of who was a pedestrian and who was on the bus would come out in the investigation.
The bus driver was extricated from the bus with the jaws of life and sent to hospital with minor injuries. The intersection is expected to remain closed till around 8 p.m.