LAVAL, Quebec — Two children died and six others were injured after a city bus crashed into a day care Wednesday in Quebec, according to multiple reports.
Authorities said the six injured children were expected to survive, CBC News reported. The driver of the bus, identified as a 51-year-old man, has been arrested on charges of homicide and dangerous driving, according to CTV News Montreal. He has worked for Societe de transport de Laval for about a decade and has had no prior incidents at work, The Associated Press reported.
Update 12:59 a.m. EST Feb. 9: Police identified the bus driver as Pierre Ny St-Amand, 51, of Laval, CTV News reported. He was arrested at the scene and faces nine charges, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm, according to The Associated Press. He appeared in court via video late Wednesday from a hospital room, according to the news outlet.
While the children have not been identified, police said two 4-year-olds were killed, CTV News reported.
“It was complete panic,” Ben Chaabane, 37, told the Montreal Gazette. “Every child was crying.”
St-Armand will appear in court again on Feb. 17, the newspaper reported.
-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group
Original report: The circumstances leading up to the crash were not immediately clear. It happened around 8:30 a.m., as parents were dropping children off at the Garderie Éducative Ste-Rose day care in Laval, according to the Montreal Gazette. The newspaper reported that the bus driver would have had to leave the road and drive down a driveway to strike the building.
“There is a theory that it was an intentional act, but that remains to be confirmed by the investigation,” Laval Mayor Stephane Boyer said, according to the AP. Police spokesperson Erika Landry added, “As of now, we don’t know the motive.”
Hamdi Ben Chaabane, an area resident who saw the crash on Wednesday, told reporters that the bus driver acted erratically after he crashed into the day care and got out of the bus.
“He opened the door. He took off all his clothes. He was totally naked,” Ben Chaabane said, according to CBC News. “We don’t know why we did that. We dove on him. We tried to subdue him.”
Ben Chaabane added that the driver “didn’t stop yelling. He wasn’t saying words.”
“It was a nightmare,” he said.
Ginette Lamoureux, who also lives in the area told the Gazette that she went into the day care to try to help after the crash. She found the roof of the building partially collapsed, debris strewn all over and children huddled in a back room, according to the newspaper.
“I couldn’t stay there, it was too difficult,” Lamoureux told the Gazette. “Children were screaming and crying. It was awful. It’s horrible.”
Laval is across the Prairies River from Montreal.
©2023 Cox Media Group