No charges pending in connection with 2023 bus crash

Published on Tuesday, 02 July 2024 09:39

No charges will be laid in connection with last year’s bus crash near Carberry which killed 17 Dauphin area seniors.

At a news conference in Winnipeg last week, Crown prosecutor Chris Vanderhooft and RCMP Supt. Rob Lasson explained no Criminal Code or Highway Traffic Act charges are forthcoming as the driver of the bus suffered a traumatic brain injury and has been unable to aid police in their investigation.

“As investigators, we hope to provide the ‘why’ of what happened, and that is why we do what we do. In this case, we cannot say why the bus proceeded into the intersection that day when it was unsafe to do so,” Lasson said, adding the driver has no memory of the accident.

Lasson said the collision happened because of a choice by the driver, but there is no proof that decision was made because of any criminal actions.

His cellphone showed no calls or text messages, at the time of the crash, he had no alcohol or drugs in his system and he was properly licensed  to operate the vehicle. which was in good mechanical shape at the time of the collision, Vanderhooft added.

Expert analysis indicated a blind spot on the vehicle may have prevented the driver from seeing the tractor-trailer as he crossed the Trans-Canada Highway while heading south on Highway 5.

“It is apparent from all of the evidence that the driver, due to the blind spots in that vehicle and when he may have looked in that direction, did not see the semi-truck travelling eastbound,” Vanderhooft said.

“He did not hit the brakes, nor did he speed up to avoid the oncoming semi-truck.”

While the Crown considered charging the driver with dangerous driving, there would be no reasonable expectation of a conviction.

“The act of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle is driving in a manner dangerous to the public in all of the circumstances. The focus must be on the risks created by the driver’s manner of driving and not on the consequences of the driving,” Vanderhooft said, adding his office also considered the public interest in determining whether to proceed with charges.

“While the Crown is certainly aware of the consequences of this mass casualty and the tragedy that families have had and continue to deal with, there is no public interest in proceeding.”

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Published in Dauphin Herald News