OC Transpo driver charged in deadly Westboro crash
Published Friday, August 23, 2019 10:01AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 23, 2019 4:46PM EDT
The driver of the OC Transpo double-decker bus involved in January's deadly crash at Westboro station was charged Friday with multiple criminal offences.
Ottawa Police have charged 42-year-old Aissatou Diallo with three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Diallo turned herself into police on Friday morning.
The crash happened on January 11th at 3:50 p.m., killing three passengers and injuring 23 other passengers. The bus was passing through Westboro station on its way to Kanata.
Bruce Thomlinson, 56, Judy Booth, 57 and Anja Van Beek, 65, were all killed when the bus slammed into the overhang at the station. 23 other people were injured, some of them so severely they required amputations.
The 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm are in relation to the criminal threshold for injury, according to Interim Police Chief Steve Bell.
"As part of the criminal investigation, we take all of the information in and we assess it. Based on what the criminal threshold for determining what an injury is, we assessed it against all the people who were on the bus that day and that's how we came up with the three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm," he said.
Diallo is expected to appear in court September 17.
Bell said the investigation was incredibly complex, taking place initially on one of the coldest nights of the year. More than 100 people were interviewed as part of the police investigation.
"We led an exhaustive investigation that included technical aspects, reconstruction, and interviewing about 100 people, some involved, some witnesses, and that takes time," he said.
Bell would not get into specifics about what led them to the charges, saying the case is now before the courts. He would only say the actions of the driver met a criminal threshold required to lay charges.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson released a statement on the charges laid in the Westboro bus crash. 'Today is a difficult day for the families of those three residents who lost their lives and all those who were injured in this tragic accident; my thoughts remain with them. This has been a traumatic experience for many members of our community, including within our OC Transpo family. My thanks go to all first responders and transportation safety experts who stepped up to help on the night of the incident and over the last eight months. As the matter is now before the courts, I will not be able to comment any further. '
Bell said the City and OC Transpo, as Diallo's employer, will not face charges.
"As a result of our thorough investigation, it's been determined there is no criminal liability by the City in terms of how it contributed to this accident," Bell said.
No more charges will be laid in this case.