Yesterday, a video out of Toronto made the rounds on social media. It was scary to watch, as a dump truck pushed a Mini sideways a half-kilometer (third of a mile). But there were no details about why this accident happened or who was involved. Today, we know more:
The driver of this Mini was lucky to escape with minor injuries after being pushed for over half a kilometre up an on-ramp and onto the Gardiner Expressway yesterday. The dump truck driver was charged.#beaware#drivesafe pic.twitter.com/ZNuZSUgiTB
— Scott Matthews (@TPSTrafficDC)
March 24, 2021
Courtenay Erhardt, 26, is a nurse who was driving her Mini to a coronavirus vaccination site to administer shots to homeless people. She says she was waiting at a stoplight before heading up an onramp. “I was in front of him at that stoplight. We were both trying to get onto the Gardiner (Expressway),” she told the Toronto Star, which has a photo of Erhardt and a close-up look at the Mini stuck to the Kenworth’s bumper.
“He hit me from behind when we were merging.”
“[The dump truck] just sort of bumped my back rear-end and unfortunately I went sideways and the truck just continued to go up the ramp,” Erhardt told CTV News Toronto.
“I just remember holding my horn and my steering wheel and just screaming. Just like bawling and screaming. I honestly didn’t know if my Mini was going to flip, or veer out into oncoming traffic on the Gardiner,” she said.
“I just remember thinking, ‘Why isn’t he stopping? Why is he still going?'”
A couple in another car behind the truck saw smoke coming off the truck and knew something was wrong, Erhardt said. They pulled up alongside her, saw what was going on, then pulled ahead of the truck and forced it to stop. They called 911 and helped Erhardt escape her car.
The truck driver, Erhardt said, emerged. “He said, ‘I didn’t see you’ and asked me not to call the cops. He asked if he could pay for the damages. He was young.”
He has been charged with several offenses, Toronto police said.
Police Sgt. Murray Campbell released a statement to CTV saying, “Operators of large vehicles do not have the benefit of such lower/smaller vehicles, in their ability to see out of windows in all directions,” implying the truck driver couldn’t see the small car beneath his hood. Campbell advised motorists to make sure they can see truck drivers so the truck drivers can see them.
Which is good advice. That said, this truck driver surely felt that something was wrong — and heard the sounds that we can hear in the video.
Erhardt, though terrified, was not injured. She credits the couple who helped her, along with the Mini Cooper.
“Honestly, I believe the reason I’m here doing this interview is because of how well-made Mini Coopers are. It’s beaten up completely and I think it’s a write-off, but it saved my life. My airbags didn’t even go off,” said Erhardt. “It’s amazing. I’m so grateful.”