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'Could have been worse,' say police following school bus crash

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An Ornge air ambulance carried an injured student to a London, Ont. hospital after a school bus slid into a ditch and crashed into a driveway near Wingham, Ont. Tuesday morning, injuring three of the seven students on board.

“There was an airlift for one of the kids due to a possible fracture and an impact to the head. The other two were more minor. I think some back pain and stomach pain for the other two kids,” said Huron County OPP Const. Craig Soldan.

The collision happened on a stormy, slippery morning across midwestern Ontario, where upwards of 20 cm of snow fell overnight. Soldan said the road conditions and wintery weather conditions played a role in the crash, which happened at approximately 8:30 a.m.

“The bus's wheels left the roadway slightly to the right, and it got pulled into the ditch. As it went down into the ditch, it [the bus] impacted a lane way. It went up and over that lane way, hence the impact,” said Soldan.

School buses in parts of nearby Bruce County were cancelled due to the weather, while no buses in Huron County were cancelled on Tuesday morning.

One person has been taken to hospital by air ambulance following a crash in Huron County involving a school bus on Nov. 28, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

The Avon Maitland District School Board said it is up to individual school bus companies whether routes are cancelled each morning. The bus involved in this collision was from Montgomery Bus Lines near Wingham.

“We are grateful for the first responders who were on the scene and are extending our full cooperation to the investigative authorities. Safety is always our highest priority, and we sincerely wish all those impacted a full recovery,” said a Montgomery Bus Lines Company spokesperson, when asked why buses were not cancelled due to the weather.

IN PHOTOS: Snow Squalls Batter Midwestern Ontario

Many parents questioned the decision not to have school buses on the road Tuesday morning.

“This isn’t weather for kids to be out bussing around in,” said William S. on Facebook.

“Why were buses running with snow squalls all day? This was totally preventable,” added Lisa L. on Facebook.

One person has been taken to hospital by air ambulance following a crash in Huron County involving a school bus on Nov. 28, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

Justin M. on X, the platform formally known as Twitter said, “The decision to send school buses across Huron-Perth on a day like today is baffling. They’ve definitely cancelled for far less than we have today.”

“We knew the weather system was coming through the area. We tried to warn residents. But, you never know when or where conditions are going to be worse or visibility will be the most impacted. Sometimes side roads are better, and sometimes they are worse,” said Soldan, who sent out a weather warning to Huron County motorists Monday evening, in advance of Tuesday’s forecast snow storm.

Soldan said that although there were injuries, this school bus crash on Clyde Line, just south of Bluevale, could have been much worse.

“Thankfully there weren’t any trees or hydro poles that the bus impacted. There was damage to the front of the bus. Of course, that will have to be repaired, but that’s not important. It’s about the kids safety, and driver’s safety. Thankfully, they’re all going to be just fine, after they heal up from this,” he said. 

One person has been taken to hospital by air ambulance following a crash in Huron County involving a school bus. Nov. 28, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

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