School bus driver killed, several students injured in crash in northern Alberta

WATCH ABOVE: A driver is dead and several students in hospital after a head-on crash in northern Alberta. Jessica Kent has the details.

GRIMSHAW, Alta. – A school bus driver was killed and several students were seriously injured in a crash with a transport truck in northwestern Alberta on Monday.

RCMP said the crash happened at about 8:20 a.m. on Highway 35 north of Grimshaw.

Police say the bus was carrying 14 students who attend elementary and high schools in the Peace River area. Their ages range from eight to 18 years.

“The injuries vary from minor to some more serious injuries, which would include broken limbs and other types of injuries,” said RCMP Cpl. Carol McKinley. “One of the children has been flown to an Edmonton-area hospital with serious but not-life-threatening injuries.”

The 36-year-old driver of the truck was also flown to hospital in Edmonton with serious injuries, but they are not life-threatening either.

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The 60-year-old bus driver died on the way to hospital.

Police said there are three lanes where the crash happened – one south and two north.

A preliminary investigation shows the truck was travelling in the outside northbound lane and the school bus was going south. Police believe the bus crossed the centre line, McKinley said.

“We do know that at the time there was a bit of a snow-sleet mix,” she said. “I can’t say specifically what that would have done to the road conditions at the time.”

Grimshaw is about 600 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

The Peace River School Division posted a message on its Facebook page Monday afternoon:

Earlier this morning Peace River School Division (PRSD) School Bus 369 was involved in a tragic accident on highway 35 north of Grimshaw.

“It is with great sadness that we inform that the spare driver sustained life threatening injuries and passed away this morning,” said Superintendent Paul Bennett. “Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the family during this very difficult time.” 

Six students incurred minor injuries, seven students incurred more serious injuries including broken limbs and one student has been flown to Edmonton for treatment for serious but non-life threatening injuries. Parents were notified as per the division’s emergency response plan.

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“We express our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the family, and the students and families affected by the tragic accident that occurred today,” said Bennett. “We will continue to support our students, staff and families in any way we can.”

Fourteen students were riding School Bus 369 when the collision occurred. The accident involved students attending Kennedy Elementary School, Grimshaw High School and Holy Family Catholic School in Grimshaw. 

“Students at the affected schools have been notified of the accident, letters are being sent home with parents and counsellors are on-site to provide support for students and staff today and in the coming days,” said Bennett. 

Bennett extends gratitude to emergency responders for their support. 

“We wish to thank the emergency responders who provided support and treatment for our students and our school bus driver,” said Bennett. “The unthinkable happened this morning and we are very grateful for the quick response, level of care and support of all emergency responders.”

RCMP also extended its condolences to the victim’s family and friends, and added that its “thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families.”


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