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Police, Family Appeal To Witnesses In Hit-And-Run

Toula Stamatopoulos sits in her hotel bed in Toronto on Feb. 3, 2011.

Police and family members are appealing to witnesses after a 74-year-old woman was hit by a car last week.

Shortly before 11:30am on Jan. 24, Toula Stamatopoulos was on her way to Princess Margaret Hospital to visit a friend. But as she was walking south across College Street at University Avenue on a green light, the collision happened.

It appears as he was trying to avoid a large truck in the right-turn lane, a southbound cab driver – believed to work for Beck Taxi – turned right from the passing lane and ran over Stamatopoulos while she was in the crosswalk. According to witnesses, the man kept driving and ran a red light a block away, at McCaul Street.

Stamatopoulos was taken to hospital, where she will remain for months while she recovers from two broken legs.

“It’s terrible – very, very bad,” she told CityNews on Thursday. “Now I close my eyes, I see this taxi coming after me. It’s always in front of my eyes.

“He didn’t stay to help me. And then he left me, and he was going very, very, very fast.”

Police are crediting the victim’s daughter, Diane Kiparisas, for canvassing buildings in the area and tracking down a security video that captured the crash.

“After impact, when he runs over the woman, he steers left,” Det. Const. Don Sexsmith said after watching the footage. “Had he not steered left, the rear wheel would have run over the centre of her torso, which I’m sure would have caused certain death.

“My impression is he’s absolutely aware [he hit somebody]. I don’t know how they can live with themselves. You must come to their aid. Stop, call the police. To run now makes you a criminal.”

Kiparisas is still hopeful the suspect will realize what he’s done and come forward.

“I just hope they have a little bit of heart,” she said. “Accidents do happen. Things do happen, but you have to have a bit of a heart or conscience.”

Beck Taxi has a partial cab number and is cooperating, but has to sift through its fleet of 1,600.

If you saw what happened, call police at 416-808-1900 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).