Teen driver charged after repeatedly ramming vehicle into Toronto traffic constable
A 19-year-old man is facing criminal charges this week after repeatedly driving his vehicle into a City of Toronto traffic agent — an act that police allege was intentional.
The incident in question took place on Monday around 1:45 p.m. at the intersection of York Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West.
Police say that the driver was southbound on York when he tried to make a right turn westbound onto the Gardiner, from the left lane.
A City of Toronto traffic agent (who is considered a special constable and has the power to actively manage intersections in the city) directed the driver to continue travelling south on York.
"The driver disobeyed the direction and struck the Traffic Agent, who was standing in front of the vehicle, multiple times with his car," reads a media release issued by the Toronto Police Service on Thursday.
Fortunately, the agent was not seriously injured. The driver, identified as 19-year-old Zachary Verpaalen of Amaranth, Ontario has been charged by police nonetheless with Assault with a Weapon, Assault Peace Officer and Dangerous Operation of a Conveyance.
"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," said Traffic Services superintendent Scott Baptist in the release.
"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."
In Verpaalen's case, police clearly feel that charges were warranted, writing in the release that "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."
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