Truck driver charged after four-vehicle crash involving school bus with children on board
A 51-year-old man has been charged after colliding with a school bus Wednesday morning.
Provincial Police say a truck driver from Toronto has been charged with careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act.
Twenty-five children on their way to school near Hawkesbury this morning ended up going to the hospital instead. Their school bus was rear ended by a tractor trailer. Fortunately their injuries were minor. The collision involving 4 vehicles occurred on Highway 34 south of Pleasant Corners Road. It was a terrifying scenario for these elementary school kids. The crash happened along a very busy highway just a few hundred meters from their school.
The normally busy highway was shut to traffic for hours while paramedics attended to the victims and police conducted their investigation. It was just before the start of school at 9 a.m. 25 kids on their way to Pleasant Corners Public School were hit from behind by a tractor trailer.
Ashley Andrews had just put her 3 kids on another school bus in front of the one that was hit. She and other parents went to help.
“They had just crossed the street,” says Andrews of her children, “and had just gotten on the bus when the crash happened. I ran over to the bus right away because I heard the kids screaming, to make sure they were all right and try to calm them down and let them know they were going to be let out in due time, just not to panic.”
Four of the children were taken by ambulance to the Hawkesbury hospital. The rest went by bus to the hospital.
Deanna Perry is a superintendent with the Upper Canada District School Board, “We transport many students every day to school,” she says, “probably about 23,000 students daily. Incidents of this nature are rare and this was an unfortunate incident.”
The driver of the school bus was initially knocked unconscious. An Ornge Air helicopter arrived just as he regained consciousness but he was still flown to hospital.
Police are still trying to determine why the tractor trailer rear ended the bus, which then hit 2 more vehicles.
“Everything is being looked at,” says Constable Mario Gratton with the Hawkesbury Police, “whether it’s speeding or inattention or distracted driving.”
But those who live along Highway 34 say speed has become a huge concern along with an increased number of tractor trailers.
“It's terrible here,” says Ashley Andrews, “the people are very negligent on these roads especially when it comes to school buses coming to a stop and them just going through. It’s a very dangerous place.”
The school has brought in counsellors today to help any kids who may be worried about their friends or who may be worried, too, about getting back on a school bus for what they thought was just a simple trip to school.
The Upper Canada District School Board says in a Facebook post that parents have been contacted and busing at the school will resume as normal Wednesday afternoon.