No charges to be laid in fatal B.C. Christmas Eve bus crash

Click to play video: 'No charges laid in relation to deadly 2022 Christmas Eve bus crash'
No charges laid in relation to deadly 2022 Christmas Eve bus crash
WATCH: No charges will be laid in relation to last year's deadly Christmas Eve bus crash on the Okanagan Connector. As Troy Charles reports, some of the victims are now frustrated over that charging decision. – Dec 20, 2023

There will be no charges filed in connection with the bus crash that killed four passengers in B.C.’s Interior on Christmas Eve 2022, the BC Prosecution Service said Wednesday.

Dan McLaughlin, a representative from the BC Prosecution Service, said Crown counsel concluded the standard for charges had not been met.

For charges to be approved, McLaughlin said there must be a “substantial likelihood of conviction” and public interest must be served.

“Crown Counsel must consider what material evidence is likely to be admissible … and whether there are viable defences, or other … impediments to the prosecution that remove any substantial likelihood of a conviction,” the prosecution service said in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Few passengers wearing seatbelts at time of deadly B.C. bus crash'
Few passengers wearing seatbelts at time of deadly B.C. bus crash

The crash happened east of Merritt on Highway 97C, also known as the Okanagan Connector. The bus, operated by Alberta-based Ebus, went off the road and then flipped onto its passenger side, coming to rest in the eastbound lanes.

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At the time, investigators believed the bus was occupied by 45 passengers and the driver.

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Four passengers died at the scene, with police saying said shortly after the crash that 22 passengers were transported to Kelowna’s hospital, six to Penticton’s hospital and 13 to Merritt’s hospital.

The four people who died were transported by the BC Coroners Service.

In an email to Global News on Wednesday, RCMP Staff Sgt. Kris Clark said that the BC Highway Patrol investigation had ended.

“As no charges have been laid, we are not in a position to confirm any details of the investigation, other than to say that road and weather conditions were contributing factors in the crash,” Clark said.

“It’s important to note that, generally speaking, weather and road conditions can change quickly and unexpectedly on our roadways throughout B.C., and drivers are always encouraged to adjust their driving based on the conditions and equip the proper tires with adequate tread.”

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