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The Mississauga News - Apr 27-06 - By Louie Rosella.

Police investigate mayor's car crash

Peel Regional Police Chief Mike Metcalf has called in his Traffic Services Bureau to investigate the circumstances that caused Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion to crash her car while driving home last night.

The 85-year-old mayor was visibly shaken at the scene, but able to walk away from the crash after she smashed her Buick into a sign post at McLaughlin and Britannia Rds. while trying to make a right turn, police said.

A horde of police, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene at around 9:15 p.m. McCallion, who attended yesterday's Regional council meeting, was examined by paramedics moments after the crash.

"I'm doing fine, but my car isn't," McCallion said less than two hours after the accident.

The initial police report said the car suffered extensive front-end damage, according to police.

The impact caused the airbags in the car to deploy, police said.

Peel Inspector Paul Thorne, head of the force's traffic unit, said investigators will be looking into a number of factors, including speed, wind and road conditions.

The inspector said alcohol was not a factor.

"I was with the mayor at an event prior to this occurrence and I can tell you she didn't consume any alcohol," Thorne said. "There is no concern of alcohol whatsoever."

McCallion's car will not be seized by police as part of the investigation, Thorne added.

Peel Police Chief Mike Metcalf acknowledged that Traffic Services normally investigates crashes where the injuries are more severe, but because of the mayor's "high profile position" in the community, he ordered the special bureau to help out the divisional officers.

Thorne said the addition of his officers will ensure the accident is investigated in the "best, most fairest and most unbiased manner."

McCallion said she was returning home from the Peel Police Services Board Awards ceremony at the Mississauga Convention Centre when the accident occurred.

Currently, Ontario's Senior Driver Renewal Program requires drivers aged 80 and over to complete a vision and knowledge test every two years.

Several city councillors have been lobbying the mayor to get a driver for safety reasons, said Ward 6 Councillor George Carlson.

"The mayor shouldn't be on her own at night getting into her car," he said. "It's just not a smart thing with all the dark parking lots and underground parking lots. There are risks involved."

But, added Carlson, the mayor "scoffs" at suggestions she needs a driver.


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