Bystanders catch driver as van drives onto crowded Port Dover, Ont., beach
PORT DOVER, Ont. — A 28-year-old woman says she was with her husband, children and other family members when she heard screaming as a van drove onto a crowded southwestern Ontario beach.
“It sounded like plastic crunching or metal cracking, I just heard a noise, which was the van hoping the curb,” Christine Ayala said Sunday.
“And then I heard screaming and my aunt shouted ‘move’ because this van was coming right towards us,” Ayala said of the incident just before noon Saturday in Port Dover, Ont.
Ayala said the van drove through the chairs of the family behind them and her uncle jumped on the hood of the vehicle to tell the driver to stop.
“This guy was shaking his head ... he was still trying to push the gas, still trying to turn the wheel,” she said.
Her husband and other bystanders pulled the man out of the car, she said.
“(The driver) was saying, ‘you’re all going to pay for this’,” Ayala said. “I had eyes on my kids so I knew they were fine, and I immediately started to check under the vehicle ... because it happened so fast, you didn’t know what he ran over.”
Ontario Provincial Police said “several Good Samaritans approached and removed the driver from the vehicle and held him until police arrived.”
Yourem Mako, a 43-year-old Hamilton man, was charged with impaired driving, driving over the legal blood-alcohol limit and dangerous driving, police said Sunday.
Ayala said she’s glad everyone is OK, adding her family hasn’t let the scare ruin their weekend.
“It’s going to make me think differently about where I sit at the beach,” she said.
Brandon Kitchen, 26, took video of the incident that has been seen by thousands on social media.
It shows a van reversing off the beach and then driving back onto it, where there were groups of people.
Several people are shown running to the vehicle and pulling the driver out.
Kitchen said he initially started recording because he thought the driver was driving badly.
“It just got more and more crazy and more and more dangerous,” he said.
“I ended up posting because I thought everyone should see what happened,” Kitchen said. “It was just crazy because you never thought you’d witness something like that.”
He said he was worried because it appeared the driver was trying to run people over.
Afterwards most people tried to return to their day, but some were clearly impacted by the scare, he said.
“The people who almost got hit were crying, really emotional and super scared,” he said. “Actually witnessing it ... was just so scary.”
OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk said the van struck a tent and several chairs and a family with small children had to take evasive action in order to avoid being struck by the vehicle.
Eskarlin Calero said she thought her daughter and husband had been hit by the van when it drove through the spot where her family was sitting.
Calero said she started screaming and crying.
Her husband, Jose Hernandez, put himself in front of the van to stop it and had pushed their daughter to safety.
“I saw the guy who was driving, he was drunk,” said Calero.
Even after police had taken the man away “I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” she said.
“I was hurt and angry at this person,” she said. “It’s the long weekend, all you want to do is relax with your family.”
She said her daughter has felt scared since the van came near her, as she believed it would run her over.
Calero and Hernandez said they are trying to make the most of their long weekend, but can’t forget how close they came to being hit.
“Last night I went to bed, I tried to forget ... but I kept getting up,” said Hernandez. “I slept for only two to three hours,” he said.
- Olivia Bowden
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2018
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