A five-year-old boy from a New Brunswick community outside Moncton is back home in recovery mode after he was struck while boarding a school bus.
Kaleb suffered a broken leg as well as lesions on his spleen as a result of the collision. Police charged a driver under the Motor Vehicle Act for failing to stop for a bus while red lights were flashing, a violation that has a $292.50 fine.
In Prince Edward Island, newly-announced changes will ramp up the penalties for that same violation. Starting Dec. 8, motorists in that province will be docked 12 demerit points, have their license suspended for three months, along with a fine of up to $5,000.
“I wish that all provinces would do this because it’s got to be more serious,” says Natasha Goodwin, Kaleb’s mom.
“His life could have been gone … you could kill somebody.”
Goodwin says her son has had a few nightmares since the collision and finds himself in pain with gaps in timing of medication.
Local bus drivers also agree, claiming the fines should be stiffer in New Brunswick.
“We need more support from the government,” says bus driver Krista Duguay. “The fines are not high enough, $295 is not anywhere near what that child’s life is worth.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Department of Public Safety says they’re reviewing the changes announced in P.E.I., but so far no decisions have been made on possible changes locally.
Meanwhile, the Anglophone East School District says they receive reports of approximately 10 vehicles passing buses with red stop flashers on.
Goodwin says she’s had to take time off work to care for Kaleb, leaving a financial impact on the family. She says it was a traumatizing experience for all involved, including her 8-year-old daughter, who was at the bus stop when her brother was struck.
Kaleb’s been receiving cards and gifts since the collision from friends, family, classmates and more. He’s also having a snowsuit donated to him from a local business, Goodwin says.
But when all is said and done, Goodwin says she’s just happy her son is alive.
“I’m glad I’m holding him right now,” she says. “I thought the worst.”
Kaleb is expected to get the brace off his leg Jan. 8, and doctors are hoping for a full recovery.