By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- November 24, 2017 -- In this week's edition of Friday Fun, Harrison Ford helps pull a car crash victim out of vehicle, Toronto Argonaught players rattled by a "high risk" traffic stop and much, much more.
Will the Calgary Stampeders have a leg up on the Toronto Argonauts (Argos) in this weekend’s Grey Cup game? If the Argos are still rattled after a "high risk" traffic stop near their practice this week, this could be the case. According to a report by the Ottawa Citizen, the team was practising for the big game at the University of Ottawa when several players reported seeing police officers with guns surrounding a vehicle across the highway. The players believed gunshots had been fired. “I stepped off the bus and heard some loud bangs,” one Toronto Argos player was quoted as saying. Ottawa police later said there was no gunfire, but confirmed the takedown on the expressway. The police promised more info about the incident once the investigation is complete.
Harrison Ford offered up some leading man-like heroics this past week. The AV Club ran a story noting that when a car veered off of the road and crashed into some trees on the side of a freeway in Santa Paula, California, Ford stopped to help. According to fire department officials the movie star helped get the driver out of the vehicle.
A man in the southern Ontario town of Amherstburg took police on a ride through the local region after allegedly switching from one stolen vehicle to another. The incident began after a series of criminal activity in the nearby city of Windsor. A Dodge vehicle was reported stolen after the crime spree. That van was later in the parking lot of a financial institution in another nearby town, Essex. When a customer pulled into the parking lot and entered the bank the thief jumped out of the van and into the other unlocked and unoccupied car (the driver had left the motor running). The suspect then drove off. The customer came out of the bank, realized his truck had been stolen and called 911. The car thief was pulled over in the second car he had taken that day. A check of the vehicle uncovered, “... a pellet pistol, a disguise and break-in tools,” according to a report in the Windsor Star.
Also in Windsor recently, The Windsor Police Service has received an award for the paint job on a one-of-a-kind 150th anniversary cruiser. According to a report in the Windsor Star, the police service won, “... the 2018 award for Canada's Best Dressed Police Vehicle.” The award is given out annually by a publication called Blue Line, which is the national magazine for Canadian police. According to the story the 2017 Dodge Charger is adorned with paint and decals that celebrate the service's 150th year in operation and honours a fallen officer. The car has a black front end and, “... simple lettering that takes inspiration from the 1930s and 1940s. The hood, roof and trunk are white, similar to cruisers from the 1940s to the 1960s.” As well, “The police crest on the front quarter panel harkens back to the 1980s. The large POLICE lettering reflects the style from the early 2000s while the black paint fading into white at the back of the car resembles the most recent vehicles.” The rear tail lamps also come with reflective "150 Anniversary" lettering, and “... 150th anniversary badges are on the dashboard, trunk lid, hood and rear panels,” according to the story. The vehicle is numbered, 6744, which is the badge number of Const. John Atkinson, who was murdered in the line of duty in 2006. Atkinson's badge is also displayed on each side of the cruiser just above the Canadian flag. Fancy ride.
There was some interesting breaking news this week in the world of major global paint companies. Collision Repair magazine has been following the story of Dutch paint maker AkzoNobel as it fought off a series of bids from PPG over the summer. PPG wanted to create a global paint giant, but was rebuffed by Akzo. Last week news emerged that Akzo and Axalta were in talks to sign a deal and merge. But just one week later that deal is already done. It seems Japanese paint giant, Nippon Paint Holdings, made an all-cash offer this week for Axalta. It was a deal that Axalta could not pass up. The price offered is said to be a premium to the current stock price of Axalta. The talks between Akzo and Axalta have now officially been called off. More on this developing story in next week's Ticker Tuesday
Victims of a used car lot that pulled a consignment-based sales scam may finally get compensated. The Alberta Motor Vehicles Industry Council (AMVIC) has worked out a deal to funnel money victims of Treadz Auto, which ended up the subject of a class action suit by clients who say their cars were sold without any of the money coming back to the owner. A report from CBC News notes the case of one victim who tried to sell a 2009 Dodge Ram through Treadz. According to the story the owner began to worry after several months passed with "very little communication" from the dealership. The owner called to say he wanted the truck back. He was told it had just been sold and he would "receive a cheque in the mail shortly after." The cheque never showed. When the owner showed up at the used car dealership three days later it was abandoned. "The lot was completely emptied and all the vehicles were gone and the gates were shut," the victim is quoted as saying. The owner was eventually charged with more than 100 counts of fraud and theft. It turns out the lot had kept the proceeds from the sales of dozens of vehicles. According to the media report the vehicles were sold to buyers who were completely unaware of the scam, while Treadz kept the money. The incident led to a provincial review of the AMVIC.
A Toronto driver that had been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death was declared innocent this week by a judge in a case that was closely followed in the city. Many in Toronto are angry with the number of pedestrians killed by cars this year. The case seemed to tap into that anger. The driver had run down a pedestrian after losing control of the car. According to testimony from a police officer the “distraught” driver, "had dropped a bottle of water and reached down to pick it up." A water bottle was found in the Honda's driver-side footwell according to a story in the Toronto Star. That the driver ended up charged with the serious crime seemed odd to many. According to the report, “The case is unusual in that most Ontario drivers who kill, and weren't drunk or aiming for somebody, never face a criminal charge. They usually face less serious provincial Highway Traffic Act charges such as careless driving… Many of those drivers plead guilty to a lesser offence and pay fines of $1,000 or less…” According to a source quoted in the story, “The law has generally taken a stand that, when there are simple errors of judgment, or moments of mere distraction or inattention, that's a valid defence in these criminal proceedings and also with provincial offences.” Nevertheless, in this case the driver was charged with the more serious offence. The young 18 year-old driver faced serious punishment for his momentary lapse of judgement. Pictures of him heading into court showed a frightened young man. Some wondered if authorities had caved to pressure to do something about pedestrian deaths by charging the youngster with the more serious charge. Whatever the case, the judge conducting the trial and the defence lawyer “sparred” over the question: What kind of behaviour can be called a "momentary lapse," according to the Toronto Star report. Many applauded the fact the driver was declared innocent - he seemed to be guilty only of a small lapse in judgement. Whatever the case, the father of the pedestrian killed in the incident says he, “...can't get away from distracted drivers. As a part-time shuttle driver for a car dealership, he constantly sees motorists texting and talking on cellphones and engaging in other risky behaviours,” according to the story in the Toronto Star. "It's unbelievable. Something has got to be done for it," he said about distracted drivers. "You shouldn't do it in traffic and never in the city, because you never know what's going to happen."
A US safety advocacy group is demanding the recall of Windsor-made 2017 Chrysler Pacificas. There are reports vehicles are stalling without warning. The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) says at least 50 people have reported the issue to government regulators. "The danger goes beyond what happens to families in the stalled minivan during the loss of power, as drivers of disabled vehicles are often hit and killed by other cars after they have pulled over to the side of the road. Chrysler needs to recall these vehicles, provide alternatives for owners in the meantime, and figure out how to fix the problem,” the executive director of the CAS was quoted as saying in a report. The Pacifica was supposed to be a major vehicle for Chrysler. The company has already sold 150,000 in the US and 7,100 here in Canada.
Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) released a consumer awareness advisory recently The organization is warning residents of the province who may be tempted to buy a discounted used car on winter vacation to be careful - there are lots of waterlogged cars coming into the market and Canadians could have problems getting them back over the border. According to a press release from MPI, “... more than one million vehicles were flooded or heavily damaged due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Any vehicles that are branded as flood or water-damaged are considered non-repairable or junk by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles upon entry to Canada. Border control staff will block any brand five (non-repairable) water-damaged vehicle from entering the country.” A PR person from the organization was quoted in Insurance Business Canada as saying: "We wanted to notify Manitobans that they need to be careful if they plan to purchase a used-vehicle from the US. If that vehicle has had its status changed to water or flood-damaged, they will not be able to bring it back across the border… There are some Manitobans who travel down south for the winter. They may come across a vehicle that looks pristine and perhaps they won't do their due diligence and check into the history of the vehicle - they just buy it. But when they come back to Canada, the vehicle might not be allowed entry because of past water damage. That would certainly cause huge inconvenience for the person who made the purchase."