OTTAWA -- An OC Transpo operator driving a bus behind the one that crashed at Westboro station in January 2019 recalled what he saw and the moments after the fatal crash in court on Wednesday.

Brian Nesbitt says people came to his bus for first aid kits and he called for help as the magnitude of the crash became clearer.

"They said it was really serious on the far side and to call in and to tell them how bad it was for people at the top…I called back to tell them it was even more severe," Nesbitt said.

Aissatou Diallo has pleaded not guilty to three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

After viewing video footage from the front of the bus Nesbitt was driving, one of Diallo's defence lawyers Solomon Friedman questioned him about the glare of the sun on the windshield of the bus. 

"You told detective Edwards that it was sunny out that day, right? You had to wear your sunglasses and bring your visor down because at that time of day when you're going west you get a lot of sun and glare on your windshield, agreed?" Friedman pressed. 

"It was at the top of the hill…before you descended into the Transitway from Tunney's Pasture, it was sunny and it was in my eyes, after that I don't have recollection that it was blinding me at all," Nesbitt said. 

Earlier in the day, an instructor testified Diallo was trained on using the emergency brake as part of her training but admitted he didn't write it down in the daily progress report. 

"We explain… we're going to bring our speed up to about 25 km/h, and they're going to use, it's called the quadruple protection valve, which is the parking brake, emergency brake, spring brake," said Phillip Latreille. "And what we do is we tell them when we say 'stop' they are to pull the emergency brake down in order to do an emergency stop."

"We get them to do that to understand that in the event that they lose air, they can use this…to stop the vehicle," he said, adding that emergency brake is also the brake applied when the bus is put in park.

Latreille also admitted that he couldn't recall clearly how Diallo had done performing the manoeuvre, only that she had done it with the other trainees on board that day. 

Friedman suggested that Latreille had only shown Diallo the brake, which Latreille refuted. Latreille had admitted for something like the windshield wiper switch, not all trainees would necessarily need to flip the switch themselves after it had been pointed out to them. 


The defence had previously questioned whether Diallo had been properly trained on using the emergency hand brake at all.

Court was shown images of a daily progress report and an equipment checklist that had the initials of both Diallo and Latreille signed beside the "spring/parking/emergency brake" column. 

Graeme Cook, a transportation enforcement officer and commercial vehicle inspector who inspected the bus involved in the crash, testified on the stand that there was nothing wrong with its brakes, tires or steering ability.

The trial continues on Thursday.