Children evacuated from a daycare center in Laval, Canada, near Montreal, where a public transport bus crashed into the building, on February 8, 2023.
Montreal (Canada) – Two children lost their lives and six others were injured when a public transport bus crashed into a daycare building in the Canadian city of Laval, near Montreal. The bus driver ended up in custody and faces charges of manslaughter and dangerous driving. The local police chief told AFP that investigators believe his act was intentional.
“It's a terrible tragedy,” said Quebec Public Safety Minister François Bonnardel. Laval police said the bus crashed into the children's center around 08:30 local time (14:30 CET). Officers then set up a wide cordon around the building while distraught parents arrived at the scene, the AP reported.
Emergency services said 12 people needed medical attention after the crash. According to police spokeswoman Erika Landryová, the six injured children are expected to survive. The ages of the victims were not known for several hours after the incident.
“I can't imagine what those families are going through,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on the development. “I'm devastated. We all are,” the prime minister told reporters at Parliament House in Ottawa.
CBC News reports that the nursery is located on a quiet street where public transport does not normally run. Aerial footage showed the bus plowing into the front of the building, which sits back from the road at the end of the driveway. According to AFP, several witnesses expressed the feeling that the driver wanted to crash into the place on purpose. One woman told Radio Canada that the parents observed the driver “intentionally drive into the nursery”.
Witnesses described the driver getting out of the vehicle after the crash, taking off his clothes and starting to scream. According to one statement, he was also trying to free the children from under the bus. Several witnesses quickly pacified him and the man was subsequently arrested. “It was a nightmare. It's terrible. He didn't stop screaming. He didn't say anything,” said Hamdi Ben Chaabane, who lives near the nursery and watched the bus crash.
Police later said the man is 51 years old, his name she did not publish. “We think it was intentional, but we don't know the motive,” city police chief Pierre Brochet told AFP. According to him, the driver, who was questioned by investigators in the afternoon, has not yet been punished.
Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer said that the man had worked for the local transport company for ten years and that there had been no problems with him until today.