City of Ottawa accepts civil responsibility for Westboro bus crash
Transport Canada officials look at the scene where a double-decker city bus struck a transit shelter at the start of the afternoon rush hour on Friday, at Westboro Station in Ottawa, on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
OTTAWA -- As the one year anniversary of the Westboro bus crash approaches, the City of Ottawa is accepting civil responsibility in a new memo released Tuesday.
According to the memo, the city says accepting responsibility will allow the City and its insurers to focus on compensation to the victims and their families.
In the memo, City Solicitor David White writes, “The City’s priority has been to ensure they are treated fairly, reasonably, and with compassion. Therefore, assuming this responsibility aims to reduce the burden of additional legal proceedings.”
Thirteen lawsuits have been filed so far on behalf of victims and their families. One of these claims is a class action lawsuit seeking to act for all passengers and people on the Westboro platform. Another 18 lawsuits are pending.
The City says advanced payments have already been made to victims and their families within a few weeks of the incident, totaling about $3.5 million.
On Jan. 11, 2019, around 3:50 p.m., a double-decker bus on its way to Kanata from Tunney’s Pasture, jumped the curb at Westboro station and slammed into the station’s metal overhang.
Three people were killed: Judy Booth, Bruce Thomlinson, and Anja Van Beek. Many others were injured; some people lost limbs as a result of the crash.
The driver, Aissatou Diallo, is facing three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. She goes to trial in March of 2021.
In its Tuesday memo, the City says accepting civil responsibility to compensate victims does not affect the upcoming criminal trial. The City also says the outcome of the trial will not impact the compensation process between the City and the victims and their families.