A frustrated evening commuter is furious after she was arrested at Union Station and slapped with a $135 fine for wedging her hand in the door of a train to stop it from leaving.
Francine Leriche, a Mississauga mother of two, said she was rushing home for a family gathering on Tuesday at 6 p.m., when the incident occurred.
“I was totally incredulous. And the more I thought about it, the angrier I got,” said Leriche. “It was absolutely excessive and uncalled for.”
The provincial government worker said she grew frustrated waiting about half an hour for the Lakeshore West GO Train to show up. When the train pulled in, she said the doors in front of her closed sooner than the others, so she stuck her hand in to hold it open.
After a transit officer approached her in a “very brusque and very insistent” manner, she was handcuffed and escorted to a nondescript back room, where she was later released and ticketed $135 for interfering with the “ordinary enjoyment” of the transit system.
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins confirmed the arrest and ticketing took place. “Sometimes people do things that put everybody else at risk, and we have to take action,” she said.
Aikins said GO Train drivers were unable to pull out of the station Tuesday because of an alert that a door hadn’t properly shut. When officers went to check it out, they found Leriche with her “foot and hand” wedged in the door. She was trying to board the train, said Aikins. “She just kept saying there was room for her and she wanted to get in.”
When Leriche refused to remove herself “many times,” the officers arrested her and ticketed her for a “mischief” offence, said Aikins.
Leriche said she told the transit officer who first approached her that she was holding the doors open because “I need to get home.” She added that she thought someone had run to speak with officers near the front of the train about how the doors closed too soon, and that she kept her hand in them to make sure the train didn’t leave.
When the officer came to address the situation, Leriche said she refused to hand over her ID. Leriche said the officer told her, “Ma’am, face the wall,” and then she was handcuffed and pushed into a metal railing, she said. The male officer brought her to a back room, where she was ticketed and released after about 15 minutes, she said.
“I fully admit that I was defiant, and that I was mouthy,” said Leriche. “(But) I was in no way threatening them, myself or anyone around me.”
After she was released, with fresh fine in hand, Leriche said she was allowed onto the train home. But she missed the engagement she was rushing for: the year-end ceremony for her 5-year-old daughter’s Sparks group.