School bus crashes into Findlay Creek home
Published Monday, June 25, 2018 9:19AM EDT Last Updated Monday, June 25, 2018 4:37PM EDT
Homeowners in a neighbourhood in the south end of Ottawa had a terrifying encounter with a school bus this morning. The bus, filled with kids, rammed two cars before hitting a house. It happened on White Alder Avenue in Finlay Creek just after 8 a.m.
There were 9 children on board the bus on their way to school in Riverside South. They were shaken but otherwise unhurt and so, too, were the residents, shocked to find a school bus on their lawn
The houses rattled and the earth shook as the 15-ton school bus mowed down everything in its path before coming to a halt at Natalie Guertin's door.
“Yeah, there's a lot of damage to the house,” says Guertin, “and we're not sure what the effect will be.”
The effect on the kids, amazingly, was minor. There were 9 children and the driver on the bus at the time of the accident. Only one child sustained minor injuries.
In fact, they all carried on to school aboard a different school bus.
The bus, Guertin's house and William Klement's two cars didn't fare so well.
“It was actually quite a scene,” says Klement, “right out of a movie.”
Klement’s cars were nose-to-nose in his driveway. The impact, between the two vehicles, spun one of them completely around with the other smashing into his garage.
Klement is upset about his cars but grateful his 2-year-old daughter wasn't outside at that point.
“If that bus was 15 minutes late,” says Klement, “I would have been strapping my kid in my car that went flying sideways and I would have been squished underneath it.”
Witnesses say the school bus first hit a truck on the street before plowing into a hydro pole, knocking over a tree, hitting both Klement’s cars then smashing into a house a few doors down.
The owner of the school bus company, 417 Bus Line, says his driver was first side-swiped then may have mistakenly hit the gas. Marc Laplante says the GPS at the school board shows the bus was going less than 30 kilometres per hour. He says the driver has been with the company for several years.
“It wasn’t her fault,” says Laplante.
Richard Townsend was inside his house when the bus hit.
“I thought it might have been an airplane crash or something,” he says.
Townsend says speed has long been an issue on the road In fact, while CTV was there, a car came zipping by, honking its horn, the driver laughing as he pointed towards the carnage.
“What they need is a speed bump here,” says Townsend, “and by the post box to slow the cars down.”
There are traffic calming measures along White Alder and several other roads in the area but the councillor for Findlay Creek says there's only so much the city can do.
“Unfortunately, you can put all the traffic calming measures you want in place,” says councilor Michael Qaqish, “but there will always be one or two bad drivers.”
Ottawa Police are investigating the accident. There are also cameras on the school bus but Laplante says they point inside the bus, towards the kids, but he says there is a glimpse of a car that hit the bus, and then took off.
The school says of the 9 children on board, 7 remained at school all day and only 2 went home.