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vonVeezelsnider

*Goosebumps*

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I was doing my commute today in the Cav, but I left about 5 minutes earlier than I usually do, and as I was driving past Bow Trail on Crowchild Trail south, I noticed a dump truck that is always going slow (~30KPH under speed limit) that I have to pass, but today it was on the side of the road with engine troubles. When I got to my destination, I heard that there was an accident that happened about 6 minutes after I passed there, a school bus full of school children sideswiped the dump truck, shearing the side of the bus off and killing one nine year old kid... It just sends a shiver down my spine, the bus in the accident, well, I'm either or in front of, or behind of it every day, I could very well have been involved in this accident!

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Girl, 8, dies of injuries in Calgary school bus crash, another child badly hurt

2 hours ago

CALGARY - An eight-year-old girl died Thursday and another child suffered life-threatening injuries after their school bus side-swiped a dump truck parked on a Calgary expressway in the morning rush hour.

The two were among 11 youngsters taken to Alberta Children's Hospital hospital after the crash, said Rick Lapointe of Calgary's emergency services. At least one of the badly hurt youngsters was trapped in the wreckage and had to be removed by firefighters, Lapointe said.

The other nine were treated for a variety of minor injuries and released by Thursday afternoon, hospital officials said. The female bus driver escaped injury, but police said she was suffering from emotional trauma.

Police said the impact of the collision sheared off the passenger side of the bus, apparently causing the driver to lose control and hit a light pole. At the scene, glass and debris were littered around the bus as it rested against the pole, an entire side peeled back and crumpled.

The bus was carrying children ranging in age from eight to 17 years old, including five from Mountain View Academy.

"We pray. We support the families. We're there for our children," said Colleen Ryan, vice-principal of the school.

"That's really what everybody can do right now - pray."

Ryan said the bus belonged to the Third Academy, a school for special-needs children, but calls there were not immediately returned.

Road and weather conditions were clear at the time of crash, said Insp. Roger Chaffin of the Calgary police.

The driver of the truck had pulled over due to mechanical problems, police said, and was not in the vehicle at the time.

Chaffin said police were still determining whether the bus was equipped with seatbelts, although most school buses aren't. He said officers talked to the bus driver, but she was understandably very emotional.

Police were investigating why the bus, a one-tonne cargo-van-type vehicle, hit the truck, which was parked well off the road on the shoulder of the Crowchild Trail. The speed limit on the Crowchild is 70 kilometres an hour.

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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Horrible.
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They must have hit the gravel truck at a pretty reasonable clip:

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Oh wow. How aweful! My heart goes out to the families of everyone. Wow. :(

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That is very sad. It also furthers my belief that many bus drivers are horrible drivers.

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That is very sad. It also furthers my belief that many bus drivers are horrible drivers.

It looks like the driver got distracted and drifted over the line into the shoulder. I wouldn't say it was the fault of the Gravel Truck... I passed through there in that very same lane like 4-5 mins before the accident and the gravel truck, like they say, was WELL into the shoulder lane... sure I was driving a narrower vehicle, but it had its hazards on and everything... I don't understand how anyone could possibly miss that. I also usually commute near that same bus every day and there's never been an issue with the way it's been driving in the past FYI... that gravel truck always held up traffic tho. And the one day it wasn't slowing traffic down... Someone died. :(

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Oh my goodness .... that looks absolutely horrific :(.

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Appears the Driver will be charged in the incident.

Calgary police said Friday charges are pending against the driver of a school bus that crashed into a parked gravel truck on a busy freeway, killing a nine-year-old girl.

Officers said they still need to finish their investigation and consult with the Crown prosecutor's office before any charges can go ahead.

The bus involved in the crash has yet to undergo a mechanical inspection but investigators have ruled out alcohol as a factor in the crash on Crowchild Trail and 17th Avenue Southwest during Thursday's morning rush.

Police believe the bus drifted onto the right shoulder of the freeway, slammed into the back of the gravel truck, which had its emergency hazard lights on, and then smashed into a light pole.

They have finished interviewing the female bus driver, who is said to be suffering from "emotional distress."

Continue Article

Calgary police initially reported the girl who died was eight years old, but corrected her age on Friday. Emergency crews had to cut her out of the wreckage.

They also said a seriously injured child who remains in hospital is a seven-year-old girl, not a 13-year-old boy, as the media had been told.

Nine other students were treated for various injuries and released Thursday.

Classmates set up memorial

Only about half of the nine-year-old's 160 schoolmates attended classes Friday at Mountain View Academy.

Some of them created a memorial with flowers and teddy bears in front of the school after a morning assembly.

Vice-principal Colleen Ryan said all buses were cancelled, but the private school decided to continue classes to help kids deal with the crash. Grief counsellors were also available to speak with students all day.

"Obviously grief is not a linear process, and we're going to have some students that are deeper into the process than others are and we're going to take our cues from them," Ryan said.

"The point is simply just to have the school available so that we can come together as a family and mourn this terrible loss."

Students on the bus attended Mountain View as well as The Third Academy, a school for special needs children that shares the same building in southwest Calgary.

Premier watching investigation closely

The bus was equipped with seatbelts, but it's unknown if the children were wearing them. Alberta law requires seatbelts to be worn if they're provided on a school bus.

On Thursday, Premier Ed Stelmach offered his sympathies to the family of the nine-year-old girl.

Stelmach said it reminded him of a tragedy near his childhood home in northeastern Alberta where 17 children died in a school bus crash in 1960.

The premier told reporters at a Tory fundraiser in Red Deer that he'll be watching the crash investigation closely, and promised to act quickly on any recommendations to improve school bus safety.

According to the province's transportation department, 300,000 students ride school buses in Alberta, covering a total of 400,000 kilometres every day.

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Oh my god. That is devestating. :(

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Concerned Motorist warned school that bus driver was driving aggressively and erratically the DAY BEFORE THE CRASH

Police told bus driven erratically day before crash

Traffic investigators are studying a motorist's claim he saw the same school bus involved in last Thursday's fatal crash being driven erratically a day earlier.

Police haven't determined what caused the crash, but will consider a statement from a Calgary man who came forward and said he saw the same bus making aggressive lane changes and tailgating the day before it collided with a parked dump truck.

"We'll definitely consider that, because it could be integral to the investigation," Insp. Gord Pelly said Monday.

Kathelynn Occena, 9, died from injuries suffered in the collision, which happened when the bus struck a broken-down dump truck on the shoulder of Crowchild Trail S.W.

Kathelynn was in Grade 4 at Mountain View Academy, which announced on Monday it is establishing a memorial to help her family cover funeral expenses and other costs.

"Not only was she a diligent student, but she possessed a gentle spirit and a genuine compassion for others," Colleen Ryan, vice-principal of the independent Christian school, said of Kathelynn.

"She was a loyal friend, and a devoted sister. She truly embodied what was good."

The crash injured four others, including Kathelynn's seven-year-old sister, Julia, who was released from hospital Sunday.

Donations to the memorial fund can be made at any Royal Bank in Calgary.

The 11 students aboard the bus were from Mountain View and Third Academy, a neighbouring private school for special-needs children that operates the shared busing service.

The two schools resumed busing Monday morning, with some parents accompanying their children for support and psychologists on hand to help anxious students.

"We will not fear the buses on the roads. We will not let fear steal any part of our lives. Instead, we will walk on in our lives for Kathelynn -- now with even more passion and purpose," Ryan said.

Ryan said last week the school will wait for the police investigation to finish before considering whether it's necessary to make any changes to the busing service it pays for.

The motorist who called the police said he was driving in the city's northwest last Wednesday afternoon when a school bus began tailgating him.

"The bus was weaving in and out, sometimes signaling, sometimes not signaling," said the man, who spoke to the Herald on condition of anonymity.

The man said he copied the vehicle's licence plate number and saw Third Academy's name and phone number on its side while stopped at red lights on Beddington Trail and Berkshire Boulevard N.W.

The motorist said he called Third Academy twice that day to report what he saw -- leaving a message on the first occasion and speaking with a receptionist the second time.

The man said he called the school a third time Thursday morning, before he found out about the crash, and spoke with the same receptionist. "She even remembered my name," he said.

When he learned of the collision involving a Third Academy bus later that day, he called police. "I still am unnerved that nobody from the Third Academy ever got back to me," he said.

Third Academy officials haven't responded to requests for information about its busing policies and procedures made by the Herald since last Thursday.

On Monday, principal Bharati Singh referred reporters to the school's founder and CEO, S. Lal Mattu. At press time, Mattu and his assistant, Sunil Mattu, had not responded to e-mail requests for information about Third Academy's busing program.

Provincial regulators are also involved in the crash investigation, helping police with a mechanical inspection of the bus.

"We would want to make sure the vehicle was maintained to our standards and that it had the proper equipment," Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation spokesman Jerry Bellikka said.

An audit of the school's other drivers is also anticipated as a routine precaution to ensure they are all fully qualified, he added.

Provincial regulations require drivers to have a specialized Class 4 licence to operate a smaller bus -- such as the one involved in Thursday's collision -- and a Class 2 licence to drive a full-sized school bus, said Don Wilson, manager of provincial operations and compliance for Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation.

Most major bus companies have their own 40-hour training program to help potential employees prepare for the written and road tests needed to secure these upgraded licenses.

"Training is not mandatory in Alberta. ... You could actually challenge the test without training," said Wilson.

An additional 18-hour optional course covers more issues, including student management and defensive driving.

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the crash where the driver was all involved with her cell phone, and not the road..? I don't see a cell phone reference in those stories, but I'm pretty sure this is the same story...

Terrible indeed. Little kids should have a much more responsible driver behind the wheel regardless.

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Nope... No cell phone involved, they haven't confirmed or denied anything really. Just happened last week.

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