Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident were passengers on the bus when it crashed, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau confirmed Wednesday.

Bordeleau provided an update Wednesday on the investigation into the OC Transpo bus accident that killed three and injured 23 others last Friday. He used it as a chance to clarify initial police reports that two of the victims had been on the double-decker bus and a third was on the station platform.

He said the investigation has since shown all three were, in fact, on board when it slammed into the Westboro transit station on Jan. 11.

Two people were ejected from the bus when it crashed, but they survived and are in hospital recovering from “significant injuries,” Bordeleau said.

Bruce Thomlinson, Judy Booth and Anja Van Beek, all civil servants working for the federal government, died in the crash, which injured 23 others.

Even though five days have passed since the accident, police have not yet been able to examine the bus because a warrant has not been issued to give permission. It means police also haven’t yet accessed any cameras or other data recording equipment such as the ‘black box’ that would have been on board.

“This is not a bus that belongs to the Ottawa Police Service and we want to make sure that we are doing things methodically and according to law,” Bordeleau said.

“OC Transpo and the city of Ottawa have been very co-operative, and they’ve said, ‘Take the bus, look at it.’ And we said thank you very much, but we still have to get that judicial authorization in the light of any potential proceedings in the courts to make sure that we’ve gathered the evidence properly. So that’s why there’s been a slight delay.”

Police covered the badly damaged bus with a tarp and towed it away from the scene of the accident on Saturday. They also gathered evidence from the scene and used drones to capture aerial visuals of the crash scene.

The double-decker transit bus was travelling to Kanata’s suburban Bridlewood neighbourhood from downtown Ottawa when it hopped a curb and struck the Westboro transit shelter at about 3:50 p.m. just as rush hour began. It plowed along a station platform and into the overhanging roof of the transit shelter, which carved deep into the vehicle’s upper level and crushed a number of seats.

Many of the injured survivors sustained injuries to their lower limbs and required amputations, emergency doctors at Ottawa Hospital told The Canadian Press earlier this week.

The only thing ruled out as a cause so far is impaired driving, but everything else, from weather and road conditions to the driver’s history are part of the ongoing investigation. The driver was involved in another bus accident a month ago, but few details of this prior incident have been released. She was initially arrested, questioned and released without charge following the crash on Friday, but police continue to probe whether charges should be laid.

He also said the police have accepted an offer of technical help from the TSB to help determine the cause of the accident. The TSB isn’t automatically part of bus crash investigations, but a number of calls were issued for them to lead this one — including from parents of the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April 2018.

The TSB will not lead the investigation or be able to issue national recommendations, Bordeleau said. Since this accident does not involve planes, trains, marine vessels or pipelines, the TSB does not have jurisdiction, and has signed a memorandum of understanding with the provincial coroner’s office to take part.

It will lend its engineering expertise to help with collision reconstruction as well as vehicle and road design analysis. Any recommendations the TSB wishes to make will be to the coroner’s office or through the local fatal accident motor vehicle collision committee.

“The coroner always has the option of calling a coroner’s inquest where those types of recommendations can also be pushed through,” Bordeleau said, stressing that the Ottawa police will remain the lead investigators of the crash.

If immediate safety concerns are uncovered during the probe, they will be relayed to the City of Ottawa and be made public by the police, he added.

Just Posted

Red Deerians brave the chill to spend Family Day in the new Celebration Plaza

The 2019 Canada Winter Games hub attracted a lot of parents and kids

Stettler RCMP search for suspects

Attempted theft of an ATM

Sign cost a concern for some in Red Deer

Installation complete on south end welcome signs

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

‘Black Panther’ costume designer blazes trail to inspire

LOS ANGELES — Ruth E. Carter is a black woman blazing a… Continue reading

Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’

Chicago police said Saturday the investigation into the assault reported by Jussie… Continue reading

Still-active human rights case speaks to lasting homophobia in Canada: activists

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Just over 14 years ago, the government of… Continue reading

Alberta missionaries among the Canadians heading home from riot-stricken Haiti

MONTREAL — A Canadian couple who had to leave Haiti due to… Continue reading

Man charged in daughter’s death in hospital with self-inflicted gunshot wound: police

Police say a man charged with first-degree murder in the death of… Continue reading

Most Read