Scott Hucal, general manger of Prairie Bus Lines Ltd./Photo contributed

Red Deer school bus company reviewing everything after driver charged

‘Maybe there’ll be more random testing’

Prairie Bus Lines Ltd. is reviewing all its policies and procedures for drug and alcohol testing after one of its drivers was charged with impaired driving, general manager Scott Hucal said Wednesday.

“We’re searching. … We don’t have all the answers. There’s 6,000 school buses in this province that would be probably thinking of the same thing.”

He said the industry is reeling across the province from the incident, and he’s heard from a lot of people on it. “We’re the forefront of this because it happened to us, but it affects everybody, our community, customers. I’ve got calls from as far away as Fort McMurray.”

On Monday afternoon, a school bus carrying 18 students home from École Barrie Wilson School crashed into a tree and sign in the Vanier Woods neighbourhood. The driver allegedly continued to drive a bit further before stopping. No one was injured.

The driver worked for Prairie for about the past five years but she is now no longer employed there, Hucal said. “Now it’s up to the courts to decide. … The main thing for us is we’ve got to review what we’re doing. We’ve got some good practices … Maybe there’ll be more random testing.”

Prairie Bus Lines drivers have to provide a criminal background check and their driver’s abstract is reviewed before they are hired. Then they must undergo training. Hucal said the believes Prairie Bus Lines does have good hiring practices but they still need to review everything.

“The unfortunate thing is no matter what we do, there’s still the human aspect of life.”

He said there are mechanisms like alcohol lockout devices to help prevent impaired drivers but as far as he knows, no school bus company in Canada uses them.

Prairie runs about 80 buses in the Red Deer area each school day. Hucal said he could not recall any similar situations happening at Prairie Bus Lines where someone was charged with impaired driving.

“All of our drivers and staff are devastated.” Some people are now looking at the company and bus drivers negatively, he said.

“It’s very unfortunate because there’s a lot of very professional and confident, caring drivers out there that are also getting tainted. … At Prairie we’ve got to change the community’s thoughts of what we are and who we are, and just become a better company from this somehow.”

Following a Red Deer RCMP investigation, Shelly Joy Kolodychuk, 42, was charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle; operate a motor vehicle over 80 mg; dangerous operation of a motor vehicle; and failing to remain at scene of collision. She is to appear in Red Deer provincial court on July 12.

Just Posted

Red Deer man pleads guilty in stabbing death

Shane Dion McPhee pleaded guilty to manslaughter for February 2016 slaying

Hundreds oppose massive RV development at Buffalo Lake

About 400 angry residents turned up at a public hearing in Stettler… Continue reading

Fire causes extensive damage to Olds home

Cause still under investigation

Oven fire at Penhold home

Damage limited to kitchen

Watch: Pandas on the move

Artist Patrick LaMontagne shows his work in this time lapse video

Watch: Pandas on the move

Artist Patrick LaMontagne shows his work in this time lapse video

Rebels Fan Fest set for Wednesday

Time to cheer on the Rebels; Tickets on sale for WHL playoffs

Uber self-driving vehicle hits, kills pedestrian in Arizona; Company stops tests

TEMPE, Ariz. — Uber says it has suspended all of its self-driving… Continue reading

Tories want debate on 12-month mission to support UN mission in Mali

OTTAWA — Canada’s official Opposition wants a full parliamentary debate on the… Continue reading

Brand of lean ground beef recalled due to possible presence of E. coli

OTTAWA — A brand of lean ground beef is being recalled because… Continue reading

Police chief: 4th bombing shows ‘different level of skill’

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas’ capital city was rocked by the fourth bombing… Continue reading

Lacombe Skating Club presents Broadway on Ice

The Lacombe Figure Skating Club hosted its year-end carnival with a Broadway… Continue reading

WATCH: SPARC sparks conversations and connections in Red Deer

Families spend time together at G.H. Dawe on Sunday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month