December 22, 2014 2:28 pm
Updated: December 23, 2014 12:30 am

Girl killed by TTC bus had ‘fierce personality,’ teachers say


WATCH: The TTC is reviewing its hiring and training policies in light of the death of Amaria Diljohn. Cindy Pom reports.

TORONTO – The 14-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a TTC bus Friday is being remembered as a quiet girl who had a “fierce personality” once she opened up.

Amaria Diljohn was a player on the Grade 8 basketball team at Highcastle Public School last year. She originally didn’t try out for the team, saying she knew “nothing about basketball,” her coach Roberto Allen said Monday.

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He said he used to play her against the most talented of the opposition players, claiming she had the speed and skill to take them out of the game.

She was quiet, he said, but had a great personality once she opened up.

“But when you do have that relationship with her, she had a great personality, and just a fun kid to be around,” he said.

“It’s sad, you don’t wish this on anybody and here we are. You work with these kids everyday and you’re coming to talk about a kid passing away. It’s really sad.”

Diljohn was struck and killed by a TTC bus Friday night when she was crossing Finch Avenue East at Neilson Road. Police said the bus, which was being driven by a 27-year-old man, failed to remain at the scene. Police are investigating and the driver is not currently facing any charges.

A vigil was held Sunday night for mourners near the site of the collision. Andrea Finkeldey, a counsellor at Highcastle Public School, said she spoke on behalf of the staff when she described Diljohn as a “wonderful student.”

And Stephen Miles, Diljohn’s Grade 8 teacher, echoed Allen, saying Diljohn was quiet but had a “fierce personality.”

“She’s a great kid. This is terrible for all of us, we really feel for her family and friends. We saw a lot of them last night at the vigil and it’s tough for everybody,” he said. “If you knew who she was, she had a pretty fierce personality.”

The TTC said it will be speeding up its review of bus and streetcar operators following Diljohn’s death.

“(We are going) to look at both the initial recruitment of operators and subsequently their driving and supervision we give operators when they’re out on the road,” said TTC CEO Andy Byford.

Byford said a review of TTC bus and streetcar operator recruitment, training and monitoring programs began several weeks ago after reports of transit buses running red lights.

Byford said the 14-year-old’s death has “shaken” his organization and the “TTC is leaving no stone unturned” in its review.

*With files from Cindy Pom

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