A TTC driver, who was suspended after leaving his streetcar to chase down an assault suspect, has been reinstated with full pay, TTC CEO Andy Byford says.

Calling it a “human reaction” Byford said he understood that the driver had the best of intentions, but stressed that drivers shouldn’t leave vehicles unattended, especially while passengers are on board.

“I don’t want staff to be vigilantes, but I do understand that at the same time we do have a part to play in keeping our city safe and we wouldn’t want to stand by in an emergency situation and do nothing,” he said.

“He (was) trying to do the right thing so I don’t think it would be reasonable to take any pay off of him.”

Byford said the TTC followed standard protocol by placing the employee on leave during the subsequent investigation, and stressed that at no time was the employee dismissed.

“Commonsense has prevailed and that member is back,” he said.

He also said the situation was “blown out of proportion” and said the TTC would be reviewing protocols and the way management makes decisions.

The driver, Dino Oroc, 43, said he was helping someone in need – and was prepared to deal with the consequences, when he jumped out of his streetcar to chase a man on Wednesday night.

He said he left his streetcar “because somebody’s security was at stake.”

“I thought, ‘I know what the rules are and I’ll deal with them after,’” Oroc said at a news conference Friday.

Oroc was driving the eastbound Queen streetcar near Spadina when he heard a woman scream and stopped the vehicle to investigate.

The woman claimed she had been assaulted by a male passenger. A third passenger witnessed the altercation and was calling 911. The man ran out of the streetcar and the victim chased after him.

Oroc, who was hired by the TTC in 1999, followed the chase on the streetcar to John Street, at which point he got out of his vehicle to run after him. The suspect escaped.

There were reports that the incident involved a sexual assault, but police now tell CityNews it appears that an unintentional brush led to a heated argument that quickly escalated.

Bob Kinnear, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, said TTC management mishandled the situation.

“Management made a mistake,” said Kinnear.

“Obviously there are policies in place…but discretion and commonsense should prevail,” he said.

“What we do need is a direction to our members about what the policy is.”

But the TTC says the policy is clear; TTC drivers should always stay in their vehicles, and contact transit control, who in turn contact police.

“Police should be pursuing suspects and assailants, not our employees,” TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said Thursday.

How would you have handled the situation if you were in the driver’s position? Share your thoughts in the comments below.