Fake police officer caused crash at intersection near Christie Pits by dancing, witnesses say
Witnesses claim the man motioned a taxi to proceed through the intersection, leading to the collision
A man caught on video dressed as a Toronto police officer while dancing in an intersection near Christie Pits Park on Saturday evening is accused by witnesses of causing a collision.
The footage shows vehicles attempting to dodge the man posing as an officer in the middle of a crosswalk at Bloor Street West and Grace Street around 6 p.m. while being filmed by two other men from the sidewalk.
Maria Tchernikova shot the video because it appeared that a law enforcement agent was dancing.
"For the first couple seconds I thought he was a real cop," she said before noticing he wasn't wearing a fluorescent yellow traffic vest.
"He had a pretty convincing outfit and it's kind of hard to tell. A couple [of] seconds into the filming — an accident happened."
In less than 10 seconds after she pressed record, Tchernikova claims the man, believed to be in his 20s, motioned a taxi to proceed through the intersection, which led to the crash.
A second witness, Lex Gore, was walking her dogs in the area when she says the driver of the Beck Taxi "misinterpreted the cop's dancing ... and T-boned a dark SUV."
After the two vehicles collided, Tchernikova says she saw the film crew flee the scene and the fake cop continued to motion the driver of the SUV to park over on the side before running off himself.
"He tried to keep up the charade for another second longer," she added.
The crash left both vehicles damaged, but no injuries were reported.
Gore told CBC Toronto: "It was a very intense crash, both cars were heavily crushed where the impact was.
"The cab was stranded at the intersection, the whole front [was] crushed, fluid leaking everywhere."
He says he was just following the directions of what he thought was a police officer.- Kristine Hubbard , Beck Taxi
While the taxi cab driver didn't want to be publicly identified, Kristine Hubbard, operations manager for Beck Taxi, said he was a veteran.
"He says he was just following the directions of what he thought was a police officer," she said.
Although he wasn't hurt, the crash has also left him out of work because of the repairs, Hubbard added.
'Biggest concern' is someone posing as cop
Const. Jenniferjit Sidhu, a spokesperson for Toronto police, said they received a call about the collision, but didn't respond to the scene.
Since the drivers have not filed a report, Sidhu explained, an investigation hasn't been launched at this time.
The man has not been identified.
Sidhu is urging witnesses or anyone who knows the suspect and film crew to call police.
In the meantime, she says their "biggest concern is someone impersonating an officer."
Sidhu wouldn't comment on what the charges would be because an investigation hasn't been launched. According to section 130 of the Criminal Code, an individual who poses as a police officer while "not being a peace officer or public officer, uses a badge or article of uniform or equipment in a manner that is likely to cause persons to believe that he is a peace officer or a public officer" can face up to five years in prison.
"I just want to get this guy off the streets," Tchernikova said.