Woman killed Middlesex County crash remembered
Middlesex OPP have released the identity of a woman who died after a two-vehicle crash west of London on Tuesday.
Audrey Bieber, 49, of Muirkirk, Ont., an educational assistant with the Thames Valley District School Board, died in the early morning collision at Calvert Drive and Thames Road in Middlesex County.
Officers say her northbound Volkswagen Jetta is believed to have travelled through a stop sign, directly into the path of an eastbound minivan. Police believe heavy fog at the time was a factor in the collision.
Bieber was pronounced dead at the scene while the driver of the other vehicle involved, a 31-year-old man from Dresden, Ont. suffered serious injuries in the crash.
Now the union that represents educational assistants at the Thames Valley District School Board is looking at the circumstances surrounding the fatal accident.
Bieber was on her way to Strathroy District Collegiate Institute (SDCI), nearly an hour from her home in Muirkirk, when the collision happened.
She worked at the school as an educational assistant, helping teens with special needs.
A union official says she was known for her commitment, and staff was worried when she failed to show for work.
Heather Skolly of CUPE Local 7575 says "So they started having concerns, and starting making calls, to confirm that she was okay. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the outcome of the day."
At the time of the crash, students at SDCI were on a two-hour bus delay because of the conditions and later buses were cancelled outright.
Skolly asks "Staff are not on a two-hour delay. Can we look back and say that a two-hour delay in staff coming in would have saved Audrey’s life? We don't know. But, it may have certainly given her the opportunity to access the situation before heading off."
The union is concerned Bieber may have felt pressure to show up for work, and will be asking for a discussion about policies with the school board.
For its part, the school board states it does "not want staff members to take risks when it comes to poor weather."
Both the union and board agree a compassionate worker has been lost, Skolly says “Our heart goes out to the family, the loss of a mother and wife is something that’s very difficult to get over."
It will also be hard for the special needs students Bieber helped every day. While some are able to understand her death, others cannot.