Suspect in Laval, Que., charged with 1st-degree murder after daycare crash kills 2 children, injures 6 others

A city bus from the Société de transport de Laval hit a daycare in the Sainte-Rose neighbourhood around 8:30 a.m. Police say two children are dead, six were injured. The driver of the bus has been charged with homicide and reckless driving.

Police say 2 children have died, 6 others are in hospital

Adults helping and holding little children as they cross a large snowbank.

WARNING: This article contains distressing details.

Two children are dead and six others were injured after a city bus crashed into a daycare on Wednesday morning in Laval, Que.

The driver of the bus, a 51-year-old man who was employed by the Société de transport de Laval (STL), was arrested and charged with homicide and dangerous driving.

Around 8:30 a.m., a bus from the Société de transport de Laval (STL) hit a daycare in the Sainte-Rose neighbourhood on Terrasse Dufferin, according to Laval police spokesperson Erika Landry. Landry said two children are confirmed dead and six others are injured and in hospital, but they are expected to survive.

The Garderie Éducative de Sainte-Rose is located on that street.

A neighbour who witnessed the crash said he and a group of parents tried to rescue children pinned under the bus and managed to subdued the driver, who was acting erratically.

According to Urgences-santé, 12 people needed medical care, eight others were transported to area hospitals.

Sainte-Justine Hospital, one of the pediatric hospitals in Montreal, has since confirmed that injured children had been transported there and some of them had serious injuries requiring urgent care. The ages of the victims are not yet known.

The hospital told Radio Canada teams are doing "everything possible to treat the patients, but also to support the families in this tragic situation."

WATCH | Parents recount 'horrible' scene after crash :

Parent describes 'chaos' of Laval daycare bus crash aftermath

2 hours ago

Duration 0:54

Nathalie Vaillancourt describes the scene at a daycare after a bush crashed into the building Wednesday morning.

Driver was in 'another world,' resident says

Hamdi Ben Chaabane, who lives in the neighbourhood and witnessed the crash, said the bus was travelling 30 or 40 kilometres per hour when it struck the daycare.

"From what I saw, it wasn't an accident," he said.

After the bus struck the daycare, the driver emerged and began acting erratically.

"He opened the door. He took off all his clothes. He was totally naked," Ben Chaabane said. "We don't know why he did that. We dove on him. We tried to subdue him."

He described the driver as being "in another world."

"It was a nightmare. It's horrible. He didn't stop yelling. He wasn't saying words," Ben Chaabane said.

WATCH | Drone footage of where the bus struck:

Drone captures bird's-eye view of Laval daycare bus crash scene

57 minutes ago

Duration 0:35

Police created a large perimeter around the Garderie Éducative de Sainte-Rose in Laval, Que., after a city bus crashed into the daycare.

When the group tried to pry children out from underneath the bus, Ben Chaabane said they reached one child, who was only lightly injured, but were unable to reach a girl who was stuck deeper beneath rubble.

He said they continued trying to reach the trapped children until firefighters arrived and told them to leave because the roof of the daycare was caving in.

According to the Stéphane Boyer, the mayor of Laval, the person who was arrested has worked for the STL for 10 years but didn't have any prior incidents on his record.

"There is a hypothesis that this was an intentional act but it will have to be confirmed by the investigation," Boyer said.

"It's chaos," said Julia Moreno, a mother whose child was in the daycare when the bus struck it. "There are injured children. It's terrible."

Nathalie Vaillancourt, another mother whose child was inside, said the bus destroyed the front facade of the daycare. Both mothers said their children were unscathed.

City buses don't normally drive near the daycare, which is on a quiet side street, away from STL bus routes.

Urgences-santé dispatched seven ambulances, a "tactical medical vehicle" — which responds to unusual medical situations, often alongside police — and a rapid response team.

Officers walk between Laval police cars outside a daycare.

"It's terrible what happened this morning in Laval," Premier François Legault told a group of reporters at the National Assembly. "All my thoughts are with the children, with the parents and with the employees."

Legault said Bonnardel, Family Minister Suzanne Roy and Christopher Skeete, the MNA for the Sainte-Rose riding, will be in Laval to assess the situation.

Laval's mayor said psychologists would be available for those affected.

"It's a tragic act," Boyer said. "Obviously there are lots of parents right now wondering if their child was affected. I really want to be there for the families, show support."

The STL said in a statement it was devastated by the "tragedy in Laval."

"Our hearts go out to the families and employees affected by this tragedy," the statement said. "The Service de police de la Ville de Laval is currently conducting an investigation in which we are actively collaborating."

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