Woman undergoes 3 surgeries after pushing kids out of harm’s way in St. Clair Avenue crash
Published Thursday, February 25, 2021 6:42PM EST
A woman credited for pushing two children out of harm’s way as a vehicle reversed onto the sidewalk in Toronto’s Corso Italia neighbourhood has undergone three surgeries on her road to recovery, friends say.
The collision occurred late Wednesday morning shortly before 11:30 a.m. around St. Clair and Boon avenues, west of Dufferin Street.
According to police, an 82-year-old male driver was attempting to park and suddenly mounted a curb and struck a woman who was pushing a stroller.
The woman, who is believed to be in her 30s, is the caregiver of the children. She was trapped under the vehicle but was quickly freed by emergency responders and rushed to a local trauma centre with life-threatening injuries.
The two children, ages two and five, sustained minor injuries.
“From witness accounts we’re getting so far, she actually sounds like she’s a hero. She possibly pushed this stroller out of the way of the vehicle. When officers arrived on scene, the stroller was actually partially pinned between the vehicle and the wall,” Toronto police Duty Insp. Michael Williams said on Wednesday.
Friends have identified the woman who was injured as Jillian Mendoza, a nanny who works for a family near the scene of the collision.
“I thank God the kids are okay and Jillian is fine and we pray for her,” Mendoza’s friend Cheryl Catricala told CTV News Toronto.
Catricala said that Mendoza was on her way home to make lunch for the kids when the crash took place.
“When I got home I heard in the news and I tried to call her and she would not answer...that’s when I knew it was her who got hit by the car.”
In a new security video obtained by CTV News Toronto, a vehicle is seen attempting to parallel park on the street as a woman walks by on the sidewalk pushing a stroller with two children inside. The vehicle then suddenly reverses at a high rate of speed, jumping the curb.
The point of impact is not seen in the video.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Mendoza’s recovery process. The organizer of the GoFundMe said that Mendoza is a single mother and sole provider for her family. They also said she has undergone three surgeries at the hospital so far.
“She is so brave. I told her about all the support she is getting from everyone. The love, kind words, prayers and financial support and she was so overwhelmed. She never expected it,” organizer Anne Manuel said. “Let us continue to pray for her recovery and healing.”
Police have said that it appears the collision may have been an accident and that the driver is fully cooperating with investigators.
“He [the driver] has been cooperating with our officers and is quite shaken up and upset by this,” he said.
With files from John Musselman and Kerrisa Wilson