Ottawa bus driver charged in crash that left 3 people dead, 23 injured – CTV News

Ottawa bus driver charged in crash that left 3 people dead, 23 injured - CTV News
Driver in fatal OC Transpo bus crash facing 38 criminal charges
Police in Ottawa have laid criminal charges against the OC Transpo driver after a city double-decker bus crashed into a station overhang in January, killing three people and injuring 35 others. Ottawa Police Service announced Friday that Aissatou Diallo has been charged with three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Interim Chief Bell says this was an extremely complex investigation, with roughly 100 interviews. He says they wanted to do a very detailed investigation and that took time.

The Ottawa police collision investigators worked relentlessly to asses a mass of information to determine the cause of that tragic event on that day that impacted our entire community, Interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell said at a news conference Friday morning. Police said the 42-year-old driver turned herself into police Friday morning and was released on a promise to appear in court next month.  

Ottawa police charge driver in deadly bus crash

The charges stem from the Jan. 11 collision that killed Bruce Thomlinson, 56, Judy Booth, 57 and Anja Van Beek, 65, after the bus slammed into a metal overhang at the citys Westboro station. Bell described the eight-month investigation as being very complex, adding authorities interviewed more than 100 people to ultimately reach the point where we are today that we are laying charges. It takes time. And we knew that it was our responsibility to do an absolutely thorough job, Bell said. What that thoroughness did, was allow us to at this point to be able to release these charges and present the person before court.   The bus was travelling on an express route from the downtown core to the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, where it slammed into the overhang, ripping through the upper level of the bus, crushing several seats and killing the federal government civil servants.

Following the news conference, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson released a statement, thanking first responders and offering condolences to the families of the victims. Today is a difficult day for the families of those three residents who lost their lives and all those who were injured in this tragic accident; my thoughts remain with them, the mayor said. This has been a traumatic experience for many members of our community, including within our OC Transpo family. My thanks go to all first responders and transportation safety experts who stepped up to help on the night of the incident and over the last eight months. The interim police chief said that the city wasnt criminally liable in the accident and no charges will be laid against the city, deeming the investigation closed.  

As a result of our thorough investigation, its been determined that there is no criminal liability by the city in terms of how it contributed to this accident and there will be no charges laid against the city and there will be no more further charges coming out of this investigation, he said. 

A double-decker city bus that struck a transit shelter at the start of the afternoon rush hour on Friday, remains in place at Westboro Station in Ottawa, on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The double-decker transit bus was travelling to Kanatas suburban Bridlewood neighbourhood from downtown Ottawa when it hopped a curb and struck the Westboro transit shelter at about 3:50 p.m., just as rush hour began. It plowed along a station platform and into the overhanging roof of the transit shelter.

Ottawa police charge transit driver with 38 offences in deadly double-decker bus crash

The woman behind the wheel of an OC Transpo double-decker bus that crashed into a shelter west of downtown Ottawa in January is facing numerous dangerous driving charges, Ottawa police confirmed Friday.

Aissatou Diallo, 42, turned herself in to police on Friday and was charged with three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 charges of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Bruce Thomlinson, Judy Booth and Anja Van Beek, all civil servants working for the federal government, died in the crash that happened during a frigid Friday rush hour in the national capital.

The crash at Westboro station on Jan. 11 killed passengers Judy Booth, Bruce Thomlinson and Anja van Beek.

Police initially ruled out impaired driving as a cause of the January crash, but said at the time that they were looking at everything else, including weather and road conditions.

Ottawa police announced a week ago their investigation was "substantially completed," and that they were talking to the Crown about what would happen next.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson released a statement on the charges laid in the Westboro bus crash. Today is a difficult day for the families of those three residents who lost their lives and all those who were injured in this tragic accident; my thoughts remain with them. This has been a traumatic experience for many members of our community, including within our OC Transpo family. My thanks go to all first responders and transportation safety experts who stepped up to help on the night of the incident and over the last eight months. As the matter is now before the courts, I will not be able to comment any further.

In a news conference Friday morning, interim police Chief Steve Bell said the news is likely "difficult … for many people to hear.

"As part of the criminal investigation, we take all of the information in and we assess it. Based on what the criminal threshold for determining what an injury is, we assessed it against all the people who were on the bus that day and thats how we came up with the three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm," he said.

"I want to express my deepest condolences to all of those who had their lives changed on that tragic day. You were always top of mind as this investigation progressed," he said.

Bell called the investigation "very complex," and said the evidence that led to the charges will soon be presented in court.

Bruce Thomlinson, 56, Judy Booth, 57 and Anja Van Beek, 65, were all killed when the bus slammed into the overhang at the station. 23 other people were injured, some of them so severely they required amputations.

The dangerous driving causing bodily harm charges cover people who suffered physical and psychological injuries, Ottawa police said in an email after the news conference.

Mayor Jim Watson issued a release on the charges laid in the Westboro bus crash: "Today is a difficult day for the families of those three residents who lost their lives and all those who were injured in this tragic accident; my thoughts remain with them. This has been a traumatic experience for many members of our community, including within our OC Transpo family. My thanks go to all first responders and transportation safety experts who stepped up to help on the night of the incident and over the last eight months. As the matter is now before the courts, I will not be able to comment any further."

The investigation included the coroner's office, provincial and federal transportation officials, provincial police, RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

"The work that our criminal investigations unit has done with the partners we have brought in, OPP, RCMP, Transportation Safety Board and other partners that have come in to assist us to collect the information, has been very fortunate for us and has ultimately allowed us to progress through this complex investigation," said Interim Police Chief Steve Bell. 

Bell said the City of Ottawa and OC Transpo have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the crash, and that no other charges are expected.

In an emailed statement issued shortly after the charges were announced, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson thanked first responders who helped rescue survivors, as well as the experts who took part in the months-long investigation.

Diallo had been working for OC Transpo for less than a year at the time of the collision, and had been involved in another collision between two buses in December 2018.

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