A school bus was involved in a head-on collision in central Alberta on Wednesday morning but RCMP said none of the eight children on board was hurt.
Emergency crews were called to the scene of the collision on Highway 11A at Range Road 10 near Sylvan Lake at around 7:30 a.m.
“I was just eating my bagel and I heard these weird noises and then just, ‘Bang!’ This black Chevy had accidentally drifted and some part of his truck caught on our wheel,” said 10-year-old Shelby Roth, who was on the bus.
“I was terrified. I crashed into the seat.
“I grabbed my stuff and we all got off the bus,” the Grade 5 student said. “The bus driver, she jumped out of her seat and she said: ‘Is everyone OK? Let’s get off the bus. Come on, let’s go.'”
Shelby said the bus driver led all the students away from the road and the crash.
“I just felt so bad for the other guy … I was very scared. If it wasn’t for my bus driver, I don’t know where I would be right now.”
Police said the driver of a truck involved in the crash suffered undetermined injuries and had to be pulled from the vehicle. He was taken to hospital by an ambulance.
RCMP said the driver of the school bus was not injured.
Representatives from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools were also on scene. The bus was taking children to two different schools in Red Deer: St. Teresa of Avila (an elementary school) and École Camille J Lerouge (a French immersion elementary school). The division said the bus was just starting its pickups when the crash occurred. It said the bus is usually full but some children were driven to school on Wednesday.
Highway 11A traffic was being re-routed in both directions but was reopened shortly after 1 p.m.
Shelby’s grandmother, Mary-Lynn Roth, heard the collision before she saw it.
“I heard a big bang and I shuttered down because I thought it was the house or something.
“I looked over and I could see the bus and I started screaming: ‘It was the bus! The bus was in an accident!’ I sent my husband and my daughter and said: ‘Go! Go! Go!’ I saw it from our house.”
Roth said the crash hit close to home.
“That’s the worst nightmare. To see this bus accident — and my son spent so many years on the buses in Saskatchewan. He played Juniors and how blessed we were that it didn’t happen to him while he was riding the buses — and then this happened this morning and my heart just dropped.
“Those kids in Humboldt … When I saw the bus and saw it swerve over, I’m so grateful for that bus driver for keeping that bus on the road and keeping it straight.”
Roth said she couldn’t have been more relieved to see Shelby was safe.
“[I gave her] the biggest hug in the world. So grateful and thankful. And I gave the bus driver a hug first.”
Scott said, given the current climate, news of a bus crash could put many Albertans on edge.
“We always ask drivers to drive very carefully, no matter what other vehicles are on the road.
“But I can appreciate there’s a heightened public interest when it’s a school bus with young children. We all care so much about young children and we are sensitive right now, I understand that.”
— with files from Global’s Slav Kornik