Beloved school bus driver, dedicated Ontario police officer mourned following fatal crash

35-year-old OPP as Det. Const. Steven Tourangeau and 71-year-old school bus driver Dave Stewart both died in a collision at an intersection just north of Woodstock, Ont., on May 29, 2023. Supplied/Brock & Visser Funeral Home

A school bus driver and an Ontario Provincial Police officer are being remembered as dedicated professionals and family men a day after they were killed in a two-vehicle collision north of Woodstock.

An obituary for David Stewart, 71, describes him as a loving husband of 47 years, father of four, proud grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of two.

In a GoFundMe set up to help pay for funeral costs, many messages of condolences have been shared by friends and co-workers, as well as families of the kids he drove to school.

“Dave was such a wonderful man and amazing bus driver for our kids,” read one message. “We will miss him and his daily smiles and greetings dearly.”

After retiring as a mechanic, Stewart had been driving school buses for 12 years, a profession he loved, according to his obituary. And while loving Nascar, NFL and fishing, the obituary says family was everything to Stewart.

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A parent whose child was driven to school by Stewart told Global News he was a great man that was loved by all students in his care.

Stewart operated a bus for Langs Bus Lines. In a statement, vice-president of the bus company Kevin Langs said Stewart was a dedicated driver in the Hickson area for the past four years.

“He will be greatly missed by all whose lives he’s touched, here at Langs and in the school communities he served,” said Langs. “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues during this extremely difficult time.”

Click to play video: 'OPP officer, school bus driver killed in Ontario collision'
OPP officer, school bus driver killed in Ontario collision

A few hours following the early morning collision, the OPP identified the officer involved as Det. Const. Steven Tourangeau, 35, of Perth County OPP.

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“We are deeply saddened over this tragic incident, as two families mourn the loss of their loved ones. I offer my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues affected,” OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique stated.

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Tourangeau served in the Huron-Perth Community Street Crime Unit and was on duty at the time of the incident, according to the Police Association of Ontario.

According to a GoFundMe organized for Tourangeau’s family, he was a married father of three young boys, a brother and an uncle.

Police associations and departments from across Ontario have offered tributes since his death.

In a tweet, the Brantford Police Service offered their “deepest condolences” to Tourangeau’s family as well as to the “family and loved ones of the civilian who died in the collision.”

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Toronto police Chief Myron Demkiw also posted a note on Twitter,  offering “heartfelt condolences to all members of the Ontario Provincial Police and to the families, friends and communities impacted by these tragic deaths.”

Police say at around 7 a.m. Monday, an unmarked police cruiser and school bus collided at the intersection of Highway 59 and Oxford County Road 33.

No children were aboard the school bus at the time, and Tourangeau and Stewart were the lone occupants of the vehicles.

What caused the collision is still under investigation. The London Police Service is leading the investigation, using resources from their department alongside the OPP. Evidence from the scene is being analyzed, said a spokesperson for London police.

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The location where the collision occurred has been known to be dangerous, with East Zorra-Tavistock Mayor Phil Schaefer telling Global News there have been a “fair number” of collisions at the intersection just in the past year.

Schaefer says the intersection is slated to have significant improvements done in June. The intersection will become an all-way stop with overhead flashing lights, rumble strips and a reduction in speed limit 500 metres out from the stop signs.

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