School bus driver charged after five kids hurt in rollover: OPP

OXFORD COUNTY, ONTARIO — A charge has been laid in a school bus rollover in rural southern Ontario that left five children injured.

The bus driver, a 34-year-old from Oxford County, was charged on Tuesday with careless driving causing bodily harm, Ontario Provincial Police said. The accused is set to appear in court in April.

Earlier in the day, OPP said officers responded to a report shortly after 8 a.m. of a school bus rolling over at Cuthbert Road and Dodge Line, south of Woodstock, Ont. They said the bus was carrying 40 children.

Police said one child was pinned beneath the bus and had to be airlifted to a hospital in London, while several others were taken to hospital by ambulance.

A spokesperson for the Ornge air ambulance service said the airlifted patient had critical injuries. Oxford County Paramedic Services said paramedics took six patients with minor injuries to area hospitals.

In a video posted on social media, police spokesperson Const. Randi Crawford said five students had been hurt, and their injuries had since been determined to be "minor in nature."

"I can let you know that all the students are OK," she said.

In a similar video earlier Tuesday, Sgt. Ed Sanchuk said all parents and caregivers of the students on the bus had been told about the crash.

The bus driver suffered minor injuries, he said.

Sanchuk also praised a "Good Samaritan" who he said helped to evacuate the children from the bus.

"We can't thank you enough for everything you did this morning," he said.

Bernie Gray, whose business is about 800 metres away from the crash site, said he spoke to a lot of the parents as they arrived.

"There was a lot of parents down. They were all shook up at first," he said in a phone interview.

"The biggest thing is it scared the living hell out of all the kids."

Gray said he could see the school bus on its side, but police turned him away before he could venture any closer.

Police asked people to avoid the area.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2024.

The Canadian Press