Witnesses: Bus Driver Deliberately Crashed Into Daycare

2 children killed, 6 injured in Montreal-area crash
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2023 1:32 PM CST
Updated Feb 9, 2023 12:45 AM CST
2 Children Killed After Bus Slams Into Daycare
Parents and their children are loaded onto a warming bus as they wait for news after a bus crashed into a daycare centre in Laval, Quebec, on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.   (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)
UPDATE Feb 9, 2023 12:45 AM CST

The bus driver accused of driving into a Montreal-area day care center Wednesday, killing two 4-year-olds and hurting six other children, has been charged with first-degree murder, the AP reports. Pierre Ny St-Amand, who is detained at a hospital, faces nine charges in total; they also include attempted murder, aggravated assault, and assault causing bodily harm. A senior Canadian government official says anonymously that the crash, while believed to be intentional, was not an act of terrorism or a threat to national security. Authorities are still investigating a possible motive.

Feb 8, 2023 1:32 PM CST

A bus crash that killed two children and injured at least six others in a suburb of Montreal, Quebec, on Wednesday does not appear to have been an accident, witnesses say. The Laval city bus plowed into a daycare facility around 8:30am as parents were dropping off their children. The daycare is at the end of a long driveway, meaning the driver would have had to leave the road to hit the building, the Montreal Gazette reports. The driver, a 51-year-old man who had worked for the public transport agency for a decade, was arrested and will face charges including homicide and reckless driving, reports the AP. "As of now, we don’t know the motive for the crime," says a police rep.

Hamdi Ben Chabaane, who lives near the daycare, tells the CBC the driver was acting erratically after hitting the building. "He opened the door. He took off all his clothes. He was totally naked. We don't know why he did that. We dove on him. We tried to subdue him." He adds: "It was a nightmare. It's horrible. He didn't stop yelling. He wasn't saying words." The CBC reports that buses don't normally travel down the street the daycare is on. Police say the driver does not have a criminal record and it's not clear whether he has any link to the daycare.

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After the crash, parents and neighbors tried to rescue children from under the bus and inside the building. Neighbor Ginette Lamoureux tells the Gazette that she went into the Garderie Éducative de Sainte-Rose while her husband helped subdue the driver. She says there was debris everywhere and the roof had partially collapsed. She found children huddled in a back room. "Children were screaming and crying," she says. "It was awful. It’s horrible." (More Canada stories.)

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