An Ottawa bus driver who died in a collision with a Via Rail train had a clean record before the fatal crash, which left six passengers dead and 30 others injured. Ottawa police confirmed the identity of the driver as David Woodard, a 45-year-old Ottawa resident, who was later described as an experienced driver with a clean driving record. The identities of the five other victims have also been released.
The other victims have been identified as Ottawa residents Michael Bleakney, 57, Connor Boyd, 21, Karen Krzyzewski, 53, Kyle Nash, 21, and Rob More, 35. "Our thoughts are with the victims, their friends and families," the Ottawa Police Service said in a statement.
Woodard was driving a double-decker transit bus between downtown Ottawa and the suburb of Barrhaven shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday morning when the bus entered a rail intersection and collided with a Toronto-bound Via Rail passenger train.
More on the Ottawa bus crash:
Eyewitness accounts suggest bus passengers began shouting for the driver to stop moments before impact. The collision forced the front of the train to derail but passengers on board were otherwise unaware of the extent of the carnage.
Amalgamated Transit Union 279 released a statement sending condolences to the families of the victims and said the union was reeling at the loss of their brother.
A Facebook account attributed to Terry and Dave Woodard, the driver and his widow, posted a message expressing her sadness and calling him her best friend and a great father to one daughter and his step-sons. Another message sent to CTV Ottawa Morning Live from the account asked for sympathy and understanding.
"[P]lease let me tell you that Dave would of stop at the barricades if he knew he would of have time," reads a message posted by the couple's account. "[S]omething had to go wrong...he's an amazing driver...please stop saying bad things about him....he's not a monster."
Officials from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada return to the crash site on Thursday to continue their investigation.
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