‘Anguish’ as Montreal-area daycare bus crash leaves 2 kids dead, driver facing charges

‘Anguish’ as Montreal-area daycare bus crash leaves 2 kids dead, driver facing charges

Two children are dead and at least six others were hospitalized after a city bus crashed into a daycare Wednesday morning in Laval, just north of Montreal.

Laval police said the six other children remain in hospital, but their lives are not in danger. Authorities did not release the ages of the dead and injured children.

Earlier in the day, Quebec’s emergency services said some suffered more serious injuries and were taken to hospitals in the area.

Four injured children were taken to Montreal’s Sainte-Justine pediatric hospital, said Dr. Marc Girard, head of professional services. The preschool-aged children – two boys and two girls – were conscious when they arrived at the hospital and are being evaluated, he told reporters, adding that one child was in intensive care.

“The children who needed more immediate care were sent to a trauma centre that was closer (to the scene),” Girard said.

Story continues below advertisement

Police said a 51-year-old man who was driving the bus was arrested. He was still being questioned as of the early afternoon, but police say he is facing charges of homicide and dangerous driving.

Laval police were called to the scene around 8:30 a.m. and aerial news footage from the scene showed a city bus smashed through the front of the Garderie Educative Ste-Rose.

Quebec Public Security Minister François Bonnardel told reporters that police in the suburb just north of Montreal arrested the driver. Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer said the driver has worked for the transit agency for about 10 years and has no incidents of note on his file.

Story continues below advertisement

“There is a theory that it was an intentional act, but that remains to be confirmed by the investigation,” Boyer said.

Ginette Lamoureux and her husband live across from the daycare and ran to help when they heard a huge sound. Her husband helped subdue the driver along with three other men until police arrived.

Read more:

Lockdown at Montreal school ends without incident

Read next:

She said the driver was “hysterical” and wasn’t wearing any pants when he was taken into custody. Lamoureux said she called her daughter, who works at a separate daycare, to come help care for the kids.

“A lot of screaming, crying…,” Lamoureux said when describing the scene. “It was awful. It’s horrible.”

Lamoureux and other witnesses who ran to help said the suspect seemed delirious.

Police set up a large safety perimetre in the area and authorities also used a local school as a meeting point for the parents of children who attend the daycare. A crisis cell was also set up at the school.

Investigators will meet with witnesses and check for surveillance footage — and try to determine how and why the crash occurred, police said.

Story continues below advertisement

Laval police on the scene after a bus crashed into a daycare early Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.

Dan Spector/Motorcycle accident toronto today

Laval’s public transit authority said in a statement on social media that it was devastated by the tragedy and it will continue co-operating with the police department’s investigation.

Boyer said there will be psychological help available for the affected families, daycare staff and emergency personnel responding to the crash.

‘One can only imagine how shattering this is for them’

Canada’s public safety minister said the deaths of the two children are a tragedy and that the federal government is there to offer assistance where needed.

“Our immediate thoughts go to the families of the victims, to the other children who were in the class and to the entire team who work at that daycare,” Marco Mendicino said. “One can only imagine just how shattering this is for for them.”

Story continues below advertisement

His provincial counterpart called the fatal crash a “horrible tragedy.” Bonnardel was at the scene with other Quebec MNAs in the early afrernoon.

“We offered our condolences to the families,” he said. “We want to say the government will be there to support these families.”

Barry Donnelly/Motorcycle accident toronto today

Earlier in the day, Quebec Premier François Legault described the bus crash as “terrible” as details emerged.

“We are going to offer parents all the help we are capable of giving,” he said. “Obviously as a father…I’m shocked. I find it difficult. I can understand the anguish that they are going through right now.”

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was devastated to learn about the crash, adding assistance will be provided but that he knew first responders were very active at the scene.

Story continues below advertisement

with files from Motorcycle accident toronto today’ Dan Spector, Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press

&copy 2023 Motorcycle accident toronto today, Toronto Car Accident News.