Red Deer Public School District representatives are expressing shock and anger after a school bus driver was charged with impaired and dangerous driving while operating her bus on Monday.
There were 18 École Barrie Wilson School students between the ages of 5 and 12 years old on the bus when it collided with a sign and tree on Valley Green. No one was injured in the 4 p.m. collision on Valley Green.
Red Deer RCMP said the incident began when a witness who observed the collision called 911. The bus continued to travel for a short distance through Vanier Woods before stopping.
Red Deer RCMP initiated an impaired driving investigation at the scene and continued the investigation into the evening, resulting in four criminal charges against the bus driver.
The driver is an employee of Prairie Bus Lines Ltd. The company’s general manger Scott Hucal issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that the company has a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy and there were no visible signs of impairment prior to the driver’s afternoon departure.
“Student safety is paramount to our organization. We are grateful nobody was injured and that a rescue driver was able to take the children home safely in a timely manner.”
Stu Henry, public schools superintendent, said they are deeply concerned and shocked by the incident, noting adults who serve their students carry a significant responsibility for their safety and care.
“We are thankful for the RCMP and Emergency Services in dealing with the situation and keeping things safe for our students,” school board chair Bev Manning said.
The school district said it will continue to monitor the situation and assure parents and students that it is an isolated incident.
Shelly Joy Kolodychuk, 42, faces the following charges: impaired operation of motor vehicle; operate a motor vehicle over 80 mg; dangerous operation of motor vehicle; and fail to remain at scene of collision. She is scheduled to appear in Red Deer provincial court on July 12.