‘Deliberate’ bus crash into Montreal daycare center kills two children

Six more children injured in suburb of Laval, as driver arrested for homicide and reckless driving

Two children have died and six others were injured when a city bus ran into a daycare center in the Montreal suburb of Laval.

The bus driver, a 51-year-old employee of the Laval municipality’s public transit system, was arrested for homicide and reckless driving, police said on Wednesday.

“We think it’s deliberate but we don’t know the motive,” said Laval police chief Pierre Brochet.

The suburb’s mayor, Stéphane Boyer, said the driver has worked for Société de transport de Laval for about 10 years and has no incidents of note in his file.

The six children who were taken to hospital did not have life-threatening injuries, police said.

Police did not give the ages of the victims, but about 80 children under the age of five attend that daycare facility, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Police set up a large perimeter around the building, and panicked parents who ran to the center were diverted to a nearby elementary school. Dozens of police and emergency vehicles lined the blocked-off road leading to the day care.

One local resident said he rushed to the scene of the crash and that he and three parents managed to subdue the driver, who he said stepped out of the bus, removed all his clothing and started screaming.

“The first thing he did was take off all his clothes after opening the bus door … He was just yelling; there were no words coming out of his mouth,” said Hamdi Benchaabane.

Aerial news footage from the scene shows the bus crashed into the front of the day care center. The building is located at the end of a driveway, and the bus driver would have had to leave the road to hit it.

A parent holding her child said it was the center’s class of oldest children that was hit.

“It’s a shock, a lot of parents are panicking because they can’t get in, and their children are in there,” she added.

“Everyone is terribly saddened by what has occurred,” Quebec’s families minister Suzanne Roy said. “When you leave your children at the daycare for the day, you know that they’re in good hands … when an event like that can happen, it shakes us and shatters us.”

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau, as well as Quebec’s premier Francois Legault, expressed condolences to families after the incident.

“No words can take away the pain and fear that parents, children, and workers are feeling – but we are here for you,” Trudeau said.

Laval is about 30km (20 miles) northwest of Montreal in Quebec, Canada’s second most-populous province.

Source: The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/08/montreal-bus-crash-daycare-center-children-killed