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Driver speeds off after child falls out of moving car

Police are looking for a male driver who drove off after a child fell out of a moving car on Jan. 15 near St. Laurent Boulevard.

A witness quickly picked up the child, about two years old, while two other witnesses came to help. The driver, who identified himself as the boy’s father, returned for the boy after a few minutes, according to Ottawa police. He then drove toward the Vanier Parkway along Queen Mary Street before police arrived.

Police now want to speak to the parent, even though there might not have been a crime committed, said Sgt. Jeff Webster with the Ottawa police sexual assault and child abuse unit.

The car is a dark-coloured, four-door, early-2000s Volkswagen, according to police. There was a car seat in the rear passenger seat.

The driver is described by police as a black man in his mid- to late-30s, about five feet and 10 inches tall with a medium build, and very short curly hair. Police say the child is also black and wore a hooded lime green and purple coat.

—Miriam Saslove

Ottawa Heart Institute bypass operation wait times increase

The latest numbers from the Eastern Ontario health authority show that wait times have increased for patients at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in need of bypass surgery.

In October, the Champlain Local Health Integration Network identified the lengthy wait times in the first few months of 2014. Only 58 per cent of patients at the Heart Institute got the life-saving operation within the recommended 90-day time frame.

The figure dropped to 41 per cent for the months of June, July, and August in 2014, while in most other parts of Ontario 90 per cent of patients received bypass surgery within 90 days.

However, the Ottawa Heart Institute typically performs more complex procedures and takes on dozens of referrals from other hospitals, resulting in a much higher demand.

The hospital has increased the number of scheduled surgeries, which has resulted in 75 per cent of patients getting their operation within 90 days, according to Heather Sherrard, the institute’s executive vice-president and chief of clinical operations.

“Not all hospital wait lists are the same, just because of the nature of people you provide service to,” she told the Ottawa Citizen, adding that the most urgent cases are dealt with as soon as possible.

—Beatrice Au

California man to fly over St. Lawrence in homemade rocket

American stuntman “Mad” Mike Hughes is bringing his daredevil stunts to Canada as he seeks to propel himself in a homemade steam-powered rocket across the St. Lawrence River.

He plans to launch from Morrisburg, Ont., 80 kilometres south of Ottawa, and land by parachute on Ogden Island in New York State this spring, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

His homemade rocket, inspired by fellow American daredevil Evel Knievel, can reach speeds of 350 miles per hour. Hughes tested out his rocket in the past by propelling himself more than 420 metres in an Arizona desert. While he sustained several injuries from this attempt, he deemed it a success.

Hughes isn’t the first to attempt to jump the St. Lawrence. The famous Canadian waterway has been the host of daredevil stunts since the late 1970s.

The 58-year-old also holds the record for the longest limousine ramp jump. In 2002, he flew 31.39 metres through the air in a three-tonne Lincoln Town Car.

“I want to validate that I’m the greatest daredevil in daredevil history,” he said to the Citizen.

—Deborah Sogelola