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2 children dead, 6 injured after bus crash at daycare center


LAVAL, Que. — A city bus crashed into a daycare center north of Montreal on Wednesday, killing two children and sending six children to hospital, officials said. The bus driver was arrested and charged with homicide and reckless driving.

Police established a wide perimeter around the building housing the daycare center in Laval, Quebec, and panicked parents who ran to the center were diverted to a nearby elementary school. Dozens of police and emergency vehicles lined the blocked road leading to the daycare.

Laval police spokeswoman Erika Landry identified the driver as a 51-year-old employee, but did not release his name. Laval Mayor Stephane Boyer said the driver had worked for the Société de transport de Laval for about 10 years and had no incidents to report on his file.

“There is a theory that it was an intentional act, but that has yet to be confirmed by investigation,” Boyer said. Landry added: “At this time we don’t know the motive.”

A man who lives near the daycare center said he rushed to the scene of the accident and that he and three relatives managed to subdue the driver, who he said got off the bus, removed all his clothes and started screaming.

“The first thing he did was undress after opening the bus door. … He was just shouting; no words came out of his mouth,” Hamdi Benchaabane said.

The daycare is located at the end of a cul-de-sac driveway. There is a bus stop in the cul-de-sac, but the driver would have had to turn off the road and walk down the long driveway to reach the building.

Benchaabane said he and the others had to hit the driver to subdue him, before police put the man down. The driver, he said, “was in a different world”.

Benchaabane said he was able to help remove a child from the nursery, adding that he and the others tried to rescue a second child before firefighters ordered them to leave as pieces of the roof were in danger of falling.

“It was a nightmare, I can’t believe it,” he said of what he witnessed. “It was horrible.”

Aerial news footage from the scene shows the bus crashed in front of the daycare. The building is located at the end of an alley, and the bus driver would have had to turn off the road to reach it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his office is “monitoring the situation closely.”

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