Van hits pedestrians in Toronto, driver in custody

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News
8@klkntv.com

UPDATE: 

Nine people were killed and at least 16 others injured after a white van hit pedestrians in Toronto, Canada, today, police said.

The driver is under arrest, Toronto police told ABC News.

Witness Ali Shaker told CTV News he was driving in his car when he saw the Ryder van jump the sidewalk and people walking were "crumbled up."

"He’s just hitting people one by one, going down," Shaker said. "It was a nightmare."

Another witness Phil Zullo told CTV News he saw “shoes and hats flown everywhere.”

Visibly shaken by what he saw, Shaker could barely recount the horror he witnessed.

"I’m so shaky — I can’t believe this is happening," he said. "This is so unbelievable."

Shaker said that he assumed at first that the driver was experiencing some kind of medical emergency and even attempted to try to stop the driver from causing more carnage.

"I thought he had a heart attack or something so I was trying to chase him on the way, almost trying to catch up," he said, adding that the driver was driving fast.

"He hit every everybody on the sidewalk; anybody in his way he would hit," Shaker added. "The bus stop — all shattered. There was a lady in there I saw and I stopped and I looked and I went after and all I see is just crumbling one by one."

Another witness said he stopped outside of a building for a smoke break and saw a middle-aged man get struck as he was crossing the street.

"As I lit up my cigarette I saw a man walking in the middle of the intersection and a van plowed right into him," the witness, who went by Steve, told CTV News. "I saw the guy go flying… It was just clear as day, just saw the guy get hit by the van and pieces of the van fell off."

Afterward, Steve said he rushed into the middle of the street to tend to the injured man "to make sure no other cars struck him."

The victim, he said, was around 50, was unconscious "and could barely move."

Steve added that the van kept driving and hit others, leaving behind pools of blood.

"I saw three or four [people] on the ground around me," he said. "Other people were getting CPR."

Steve said he’s convinced that stopping for the cigarette break saved him.

"I had just stopped to light the cigarette and if I hadn’t done that I would have been killed as well," he said. "I would have been right there with that guy."

Police have not identified the driver.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre said it had received seven patients from the scene.

Multiple police vehicles could be seen where the incident occurred. Images from the scene show multiple people on the ground.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that while he’s "just learning about the situation in Toronto, our hearts go out to any affected. We’re going to obviously have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours."

Toronto’s Mayor John Tory his "thoughts are with those affected by this incident."

Ralph Goodale, the country’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, called the incident very serious but said he didn’t want to speculate when asked if the terrorism was to blame.

"We cannot come to any firm conclusions at this stage," he said.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is in Toronto as part of the G-7 Security Ministerial, which is set to conclude on Tuesday. A senior State Department official told ABC News that the U.S. delegation is safe.

Ryder, the brand of rental truck involved in the incident, said in a statement it was saddened by "this tragic event" and extended its "deepest sympathies" to those impacted.

The company also stated that it is "cooperating fully with authorities."

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A white van hit pedestrians in Toronto, Canada, today, injuring a possible eight to 10 people, police said.

The driver is in custody, police told ABC News. The extent of the injuries was not immediately clear, police said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that while he’s "just learning about the situation in Toronto, our hearts go out to any affected. We’re going to obviously have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours."

An eyewitness said that the vehicle drove up on the sidewalk, hitting people one by one, including someone with a stroller.

“[The driver] just destroyed so many people’s lives,” he said. “Every single thing that got in [the driver’s] way.”

Multiple police vehicles could be seen where the incident occurred.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.