Canada
TTC reinstates streetcar driver who chased sexual assault suspect

Toronto Transit driver Dino Oroc speaks with media at the Transit Union hall in Toronto, on Nov. 16, 2012.

Credits: Dave ThomasToronto Sun/QMI Agency

IAN ROBERSTON | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO — Dino Oroc is hitting the rails again two days after the streetcar driver abandoned passengers to chase a sex assault suspect.

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) CEO Andy Byford confirmed Friday that Oroc is back on the job after being dismissed for leaving his streetcar to give chase to a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman passenger.

“I think common sense prevailed,” said Byford.

The public applauded Oroc's pursuit Wednesday and criticised the TTC for suspending the 13-year driver.

"That's standard procedure" pending an investigation, Byford said, adding Oroc "was never sacked" and was reinstated "with pay.”

By chasing the suspect after a woman passenger complained a man leaned against her in a sexual manner, the driver "put himself at risk," he said.

"We accept that he did it with good intentions (but) transit control had no idea where he was," Byford said.

"I have a duty to care for my employees," he said, adding that a suspect might "be waiting to swing a baseball bat.”

After Bob Kinnear told reporters of Oroc's reinstatement, the CEO said he met with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 president, who wanted assurances a similar incident won't automatically result in penalties.

"We will review our protocols," Byford said.

Oroc, 43, told reporters he couldn't explain why he decided to chase the man.

The passenger was "hysterical ... convinced there was a sexual assault," and another woman agreed, he said.

"I knew there were certain procedures to follow, but it didn't stop me," Oroc said. "I was thinking about what could have happened."

He wanted a better look at the man, who denied the assault.

“Somebody's security was at stake,” he said.

A Toronto Police investigation report Friday had no reference to a sexual assault.

"There are always underlying circumstances to every rule," Kinnear said. "These, in fact, were reasonable."

While lauding his bravery, Kinnear cautioned: “We're not encouraging our members to be police officers."

Asked if he would give chase again, Oroc — a married marathon runner who found the public support "overwhelming” — replied: “It depends on the circumstances.”

"I don't regret it," he said. "I was just being a Good Samaritan."

When he met the woman later, she didn't say much.

“She was just happy I was there,” he said.

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