Police may never be able to talk to driver of bus in deadly collision in Manitoba

Leaders with the RCMP say they expect to hear “sooner than later” when it comes to a decision on charges around the Carberry crash, saying they’ve now passed the file to Crown prosecutors in Manitoba. Morgan Modjeski reports.

By The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG — Police may never be able to talk to the driver of a bus involved in a crash that killed 17 people a year ago near Carberry, Man., a RCMP official said Thursday.

“We have to respect the privacy of the driver, but I can say that the results of the accident inflicted some severe medical issues for the driver, and he’s not able to provide those answers that we would like,” said Supt. Rob Lasson, officer in charge of major crime services for the Manitoba RCMP.

“It’s a very big step, because our ultimate goal from the beginning of this tragedy where RCMP were involved was to provide answers, not only to the family, but to the public who was observing what was happening.” 

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, Lasson thanked the victims’ families for their patience.

“Unfortunately, this investigation was very complex, very unique that required copious amounts of various resources, and this is why it took so long. We needed to get this right, and I’m confident that we did. I promised the family and the public that we’d have accurate answers, and that took time.”

The bus was carrying seniors from Dauphin, Man., to a casino near Carberry on June 15 of last year and had 25 people on board.

The bus was on Highway 5 and crossing the Trans-Canada Highway when it collided with a semi-trailer.

Police have said the semi-trailer had the right of way. Traffic along the Trans-Canada is free-flowing while vehicles that cross at the intersection on Highway 5 have stop and yield signs.

Lasson briefed reporters on the investigative package sent to Manitoba Crown Prosecutors, saying it included things like forensic reports, witness statements and vehicle analysis, saying those who were involved in the investigation, as first responders, have been affected like never before. 

“This is something that’s unimaginable for first responders and police officers. Even though throughout our careers, we attend many tragic scenes, but this one was honestly above and beyond anything that we could comprehend. This was a very chaotic, sad scene to attend and it will stick with the investigators for the rest of their lives.” 

Supt. Lasson however stressed there are supports in place for those who responded to the scene, and says there were three main takeaways the RCMP has a year after the crash: including to rely on its operational standards, the importance of building relationships amongst emergency personnel on a unified response and to establish strong relationships, and connection, with the families of those involved as early as possible. 

RCMP handed over their findings in January to the Crown attorney’s office, which has yet to decide whether to lay charges. Lasson said he expects a decision soon but would not estimate a date.

People in Dauphin are scheduled to mark the one-year anniversary of the tragedy on Saturday with a new monument to the victims.

-With files from Morgan Modjeski, CityNews

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