A woman who was struck by a piece of falling concrete at Toronto’s Union Station last week says at first, she didn’t know what had happened.
“I thought someone had hit me,” said Alison, who wanted to be identified by her first name only.
“I thought someone punched me. So I was holding my head and there was a woman there kind of shouting and yelling, ‘Are you OK? Someone call 911. Are you OK?'”
Toronto police and paramedics were called to the Bay West Teamway passageway just before 5:30 p.m. on Thursday with reports of a woman who was hit in the head by an object. Alison said prior to the incident, she was standing near a station information screen sending a text message as she waited to confirm the platform number for her train.
Alison’s lawyer, Nainesh Kotak, said she briefly lost consciousness and found herself on the ground attended by security personnel and paramedics. She was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital for treatment and was released later that evening.
She intends to sue the province’s transportation agency Metrolinx and the City of Toronto, Kotak told Global News.
Alison, who started in a career with an artificial intelligence company a month ago, said she “just wants her life back” — and to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
In an interview with Global News on Tuesday, the 24-year-old said she’s been diagnosed with a concussion and has an upcoming appointment to see a brain specialist.
“I have to do slow movements, talking slowly and understanding people slowly, and sometimes I’m slurring when I speak. But whenever I’m not on my medication and it’s just a throbbing pain, and I can feel when my medication dies out because the pain is just so scorching in my head.”
She said the incident has also left her with nausea and motion sickness.
It could have been worse — she believes the brim of the baseball cap she was wearing at the time may have prevented debris from entering her eye.
Alison said she’ll no longer take her personal safety for granted while in public. The incident has left her “traumatized,” she said.
“I get nightmares about it. I keep telling my parents it keeps reliving in my head and I don’t know how to get it out of my head,” she said.
The cause of the falling concrete is still under investigation. The Bay West Teamway passageway was closed for several hours following the incident as crews conducted overnight inspections and repairs.
The area was later deemed safe and was reopened for the Friday morning commute.
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said officials are continuing to monitor the corridor but won’t say if the incident could have been prevented.
“Well, they are still investigating how it happened. So until that is completed, it’s very difficult to say. So I don’t want to speculate on any of that,” Aikins said.
Aikins would not comment on the lawsuit, but said the public’s safety is paramount.
“We have 300,000 people that walk through Union Station every single day, so a lot of people depend on this important transportation hub and safety is our first priority,” she said, “so we want to make sure it’s safe for those people.”
A City of Toronto spokesperson said in an email to Global News on Tuesday that the health and safety of commuters is a top priority, but would also not comment on any potential legal action.
Union Station, which has been undergoing a massive renovation project, is owned and operated jointly by the municipality and Metrolinx.
—With files from Farah Nasser and Mark Carcasole