TORONTO – A man who allegedly drove his SUV into a streetcar tunnel on Thursday, bringing traffic in downtown Toronto to a halt for several hours, reportedly told transit officials he was following his GPS instructions when his vehicle got stuck.
Toronto Transit Commissio spokesman Brad Ross had no information on where the man was travelling when he drove into the tunnel at one of the city’s main downtown transit hubs in the middle of the night.
A streetcar came across the SUV jammed in the tunnel shortly before 5:00 a.m. Thursday morning, he said.
He said stuck cars are not unheard of, but said this one stood out as unusual due to the nature of the tunnel and the distance the vehicle travelled.
“That part of the network, only streetcars use it,” Ross said of the tunnel in which the track is raised rather than being imbedded in the road. “. . . . The fact that this car made it almost 800 metres to the Union Station platform is very unusual. Cars have gone down there in the past, but typically they get stuck far sooner than that.”
Ross said that shortly after the man got stuck on the tracks, he temporarily fled the scene.
“When we got there, the driver of the car tried to run back down the tunnel, (the operator) stopped him from doing so, and he ran out the other way,” Ross said.
Ross said he was unsure of the timeline, but said the man later returned to the scene and claimed GPS directions had inadvertently led him into the downtown tunnel. Transit enforcement officers issued him a ticket, but Ross did not know of any criminal charges.
A specialized crane was needed to remove the vehicle from the tunnel, Ross said, since a tow truck would also have been unable to enter the tunnel without damage.
He said the process led to a nearly six-hour delay on two of the city’s busiest streetcar routes.
Service resumed by late Thursday morning.