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15-passenger vans are ‘death traps’: mothers of Bathurst High crash victims

A horrific highway crash that left 11 people dead in Ontario has prompted further calls to stop the use of 15-seat passenger vans.

Two mothers whose sons were killed four years ago in a van crash northern New Brunswick say Monday night’s accident is further proof the vehicles are unsafe.

Isabelle Hains’ son, Daniel, and Ana Acevedo’s son, Javier, were among the seven members of the Bathurst High School Phantoms basketball team who died Jan. 12, 2008 when the van they were returning from a game in collided with a transport truck on an icy stretch of highway.

An eighth person – the wife of the team’s coach – also died in the crash.
Since that time, the mothers have lobbied the New Brunswick government to ban the use of 15-passenger vans for student transportation.

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“It seems we have learned absolutely nothing from their deaths,” the statement reads.

Most recently they have asked the province to turn down an application from a P.E.I.-based shuttle service that wants to use the vehicles.

In a statement on their website – www.VanAngels.ca – they say Monday’s tragedy is further evidence the vans are “death traps” and “not “should not be used to transport human beings.”

“In light of yesterday’s terrible collision in Ontario which took the lives of 11 people, 10 of them migrant workers being transported in a 15-passenger van, we implore the Energy and Utility Board of New Brunswick to deny Advanced Shuttle’s application for a permit to use 15-passenger vans to transport students in our province,” Hains and Acevedo said Tuesday in a statement.

The Energy and Utility Board is meeting Tuesday to discuss the application by Advanced Shuttle Services Ltd.

Although Hains and Acevedo acknowledge the public can no longer make formal objections to the bid, they urge people to contact the EUB.

The crash in Hampstead, Ontario Monday night killed 10 migrant workers, from Peru, travelling in the van and the driver of the transport truck that struck the vehicle.

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Global News has continuing online coverage of the crash.