City of Toronto Traffic Agent Struck by Driver,
TPS lays Criminal Charges including Assault of Peace Officer,
York Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West
Broadcast time: 13:00
Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021
Unit: Traffic Services
Case #: 2021-764743
Toronto Police Service Traffic investigators have laid criminal charges after a driver's car made physical contact with a City of Toronto Traffic Agent repeatedly, and while allegedly disobeying the Agent's lawful direction.
City of Toronto Traffic Agents are Special Constables and are empowered by the Province of Ontario to actively manage traffic at intersections in Toronto.
Superintendent Scott Baptist from Traffic Services said, “City of Toronto Traffic Agents work in key intersections to help reduce congestion and improve safety for all road users. They have the same Highway Traffic Act authority as police officers so they can carry out their duties to the best of their abilities.
He added, “Aggressive and threatening behaviour towards them will not be tolerated. An assault on a Traffic Agent is considered as assault on a peace officer, and those who commit the offence will be investigated and charges will be laid when warranted. We ask the public to please comply with Traffic Agents’ directions. This will help traffic move more safely and efficiently in our city, benefiting us all."
On Monday, April 26, 2021, at approximately 1:45 p.m., a City of Toronto Traffic Agent was working at the intersection of York Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West.
It is alleged that:
- the driver of a black Chevrolet Cruze was southbound on York Street attempting to make a right turn westbound onto the Gardiner Expressway from the left lane
- a City of Toronto Traffic Agent was working at the intersection and directed the driver to continue southbound on York Street
- the driver disobeyed the direction and struck the Traffic Agent, who was standing in front of the vehicle, multiple times with his car
- the Agent was not seriously injured
On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, the Toronto Police Service arrested Zachary Verpaalen, 19, of Amaranth, and charged him with:
1. Assault with a Weapon
2. Assault Peace Officer
3. Dangerous Operation of a Conveyance
He will appear at Old City Hall Court on Monday, June 7, 2021, at 11 a.m., courtroom 112.
For more information on the role and responsibilities of Traffic Agents, please see the City of Toronto Traffic Agent Program.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1900, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, online on our Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes or Google Play.
For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.
Sergeant Jason Kraft, Traffic Services, for Superintendent Scott Baptist, Traffic Services