London police are searching for the driver of a silver Volkswagen Jetta after the vehicle fled from police and caused a chain-reaction crash that resulted in over $600,000 in damage.
Investigators say a police officer spotted a vehicle driving the wrong way on a side street at around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday.
The officer tried to stop the driver near the intersection of Hyman and Waterloo streets, but the driver turned the car’s headlights off and fled northbound on Waterloo Street. The officer did not pursue the vehicle and notified other police officers in the area.
Police say the suspect vehicle continued to drive through the red light at Waterloo and Oxford streets, where it hit an eastbound LTC bus.
“One of our LTC buses was travelling eastbound on Oxford, through the intersection at Waterloo,” said LTC general manager Kelly Paleczny. “Our bus did have the green light. The vehicle that came through the intersection from Waterloo struck the rear driver’s side of the bus, which then knocked the bus out of control and into the building.”
The collision caused the bus to drive over the south curb of Oxford Street and into the North London Neighbourhood Pet Clinic at 746 Waterloo St. The bus was removed from the building early Wednesday afternoon.
Brent Barr, the business director at the clinic, tells 980 CFPL he received an alarm call around 12 a.m. Wednesday.
“A series of alarms had gone off, broken glass, door break and motion sensor,” he explained. Barr notified police, believing it to be a break-in.
“About five minutes later, police called me back to say they were actually on site already dealing with an LTC bus that had actually gone into the building.”
Barr says no pets or people were inside the building when the crash happened.
“Everybody had gone home from the surgeries the night before, so there was no one in the building. There were no people, there were no furry family members.”
The driver of the Volkswagen left the car and ran away. Police searched the area but weren’t able to find the suspect.
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The bus driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries. There were no passengers inside the bus at the time.
“The driver was taken to hospital as a precaution, but he is now at home,” said Paleczny. “He was treated for minor scrapes and bruises, but was released. We did speak with him this morning. He’s home.”
There are no reports of any other injuries.
Police say the damage is estimated to be approximately $610,000.
The investigation has been reassigned to their traffic management unit and is ongoing. A suspect description has not been released at this time.