2 children dead, 6 injured after bus crash at daycare center

A city bus crashed into a daycare center north of Montreal on Wednesday, killing two children and sending six to hospital, authorities said. The bus driver was arrested and charged with homicide and reckless driving.

Police established a wide perimeter around the building housing the daycare center in Laval, Quebec, and panicked parents who ran to the center were diverted to a nearby elementary school. Dozens of police and emergency vehicles lined the blocked road leading to the daycare.

Canada Daycare Crash
Parents await news after a bus crashed into a daycare center in Laval, Que., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

Ryan Remiorz/AP

An eyewitness said that immediately after the accident the driver got out of the bus, tore his clothes and started screaming.

“He was just screaming, no words came out of his mouth,” Hamdi Benchaabane said.

The driver is 51, had worked for the Société de transport de Laval for 10 years, had no criminal history and a clean criminal record, police officials and Laval Mayor Stephane Boyer said at two conferences. separate press.

“At this time, we don’t know the motive for the crime,” police spokeswoman Erika Landry said. She did not say why police determined the crash was a homicide and did not release the name of the driver. Laval Police Chief Pierre Brochet said police are questioning the driver.

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

The daycare is located at the end of a cul-de-sac driveway. There is a bus stop in the cul-de-sac, but the driver would have had to turn off the road and walk down the long driveway to reach the building.

“There were no skid marks. … He went straight to daycare,” said another eyewitness, Mario Sirois.

The six children who were hospitalized had injuries that were not life threatening, Brochet said.

A senior Canadian government official said the accident was not an act of terrorism and did not pose a threat to national security. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Benchaabane, who lives near the nursery, said he rushed to the scene of the crash and he and three relatives managed to subdue the driver.

He said they had to hit the driver to subdue him, before police put the man down. The driver, he said, “was in a different world”.

Benchaabane said he was able to help remove a child from the nursery, adding that he and the others tried to rescue a second child before firefighters ordered them to leave as pieces of the roof were in danger of falling.

“It was a nightmare, I can’t believe it,” he said of what he witnessed. “It was horrible.”

Brochet said officers at the scene were crying.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his office is “monitoring the situation closely.”


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