Drivers children among injured in school bus crash
The student who was air-lifted to hospital in critical condition following a collision between a school bus and a truck northeast of Crossfield was the bus driver’s five-year-old child.
The collision occurred at the intersection of Highway 791 and Township Road 290 shortly after 8 a.m. on Oct. 25.
RCMP Const. Robert Frizzell said the female bus driver and eight other children on the bus were also injured and transported by ambulance to Calgary hospitals.
Three of the other students on board were also the driver’s children. All of the children except the five year old who was airlifted have been released from hospital.
Frizzell said the students ranged between the ages of five and nine, and attended Crossfield Elementary School and W.G. Murdoch School.
“At this time, due to their privacy and since we’re dealing with children, we are really reluctant to release any information on (the students) names or identities or connections,” said Frizzell, during a press conference held at the Rocky View Schools Education Centre in Airdrie on Oct. 25 at 11 a.m.
“Injuries varied from life-threatening for the student that was air-lifted by STARS Air Ambulance down to critical and more precautionary, so we’re making sure students are OK and (checking) for possible broken bones.”
At the scene of the accident, the yellow bus was stopped against a guardrail and the large pickup truck was below in a ravine. The front end of the bus was crushed.
Adam Loria, spokesperson for EMS for Calgary and area, said eight ambulances attended the scene and transported eight students and the driver of the school bus via ground ambulance in serious but stable and non-life-threatening condition.
The driver of the truck was assessed for injuries and released on scene.
“EMS was able to arrive on scene and briefly and astutely assess and transport all of the injured parties in a timely fashion,” he said.
There were a number of motorists who stopped on the scene to assist, he added.
“I would consider them Good Samaritans, who provided care and reassurance to the students,” he said.
“It is a difficult situation for first responders and the citizens who stopped. It’s a very trying and scary event to be a part of. This is a tight-knit community and our thoughts and prayers go out to people involved. We hope for the best outcome.”
Frizzell said the collision scene is being reconstructed to determine the cause and fault of the incident. He said the “large work truck” was heading southbound on Highway 791, which is a paved road with no controlled intersection.
The school bus was heading westbound on Township Road 290, which is a gravel road with a stop sign at the intersection.
“At this time, we’re still investigating exactly what happened and that timeline so we don’t have any information right now whether (the bus came to) a complete stop or entered into the intersection,” he said, adding that he could not confirm the point of impact or the speed the vehicles were travelling at this time.
Frizzell said there were no witnesses who observed the collision.
Susan Williams, acting superintendent of Rocky View Schools, said crisis response teams were sent to the schools.
“(The psychologists) are attending to not only the emotional needs of our students and staff but also our parents. They will remain on site today and will return as long as needed,” she said.
“My heart goes out to the students and parents directly impacted by this incident. We are very concerned about the well-being of our school communities … I extend my sincere gratitude to our first responders for their care and support of our students.”
Rocky View Schools sent a letter to parents advising them how to talk to their children about what happened to their classmates.
On Oct. 26, RCMP released a statement saying, “police would like to inform the media that there are no further updates at this time. Investigators have been in contact with Alberta Health Services and due to FOIP legislation are unable to provide any further details of any of the patients.”
The press release also stated that the RCMP reconstruction is continuing with his investigation and due to the complex nature of these investigations the report is not expected in the immediate future.
With files from Stacie Snow