Pregnant teacher, students recovering following deadly bus crash

Students from Princess Margaret Secondary School and one teacher who is pregnant are doing well after being involved in a head-on collision on Tuesday evening.

A school bus transporting 14 Princess Margaret students was involved in a deadly head-on collision on Highway 97.

Students from Princess Margaret Secondary School and one teacher who is pregnant are doing well after being involved in a head-on collision on Tuesday evening.

A 46-year-old Oliver man was killed in the crash after his northbound Chrysler Cirrus crossed into the oncoming lane of Highway 97 and struck the school bus.

“We have one student who sustained a head injury and was airlifted to Kelowna hospital. She is being monitored and treated for her injuries,” said Wendy Hyer, superintendent of schools for School District 67. “The teacher is in hospital and being monitored due to her pregnancy. At this point her and the baby’s vital signs are good.”

The remainder of the 14 students who were on their way back from H2O aquatic and fitness centre in Kelowna in the 24-passenger bus were treated for their injuries on Tuesday and released that evening.

“Most were minor injuries, including soft tissue injuries, a broken ankle and a concussion. Some have even returned to school (Wednesday) morning,” said Hyer, adding the district crisis intervention team has made themselves available to support students and staff who may be struggling emotionally.

The pregnant teacher operating the bus was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the collision, which RCMP collision investigators said contributed greatly to minimizing her injuries. The school bus was equipped with seatbelts for all the passengers, but many riding in the bus were not wearing them.

“There is also telltale evidence in the bus indicating the lack of seatbelt usage, which is very concerning. It is extremely fortunate for these students that the injuries sustained were not more serious,” said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. “At any speed, in particular highway speeds, the use of a seatbelt will certainly minimize your injuries and in some cases make the difference between your life and death. If you are travelling in a vehicle designed and equipped with seatbelts, use them.”

At about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday Summerland RCMP and the South Okanagan Traffic Services responded to a three-vehicle collision on Highway 97, near Greata Ranch. Preliminary findings by the RCMP indicate the Chrysler Cirrus was northbound when it crossed over the undivided highway into the southbound lane. The sedan struck the school bus head on, causing the school bus to be pushed into a second southbound vehicle. The driver of that vehicle was shaken with only minor injuries.

“The weather at the time was described as a heavy downpour and appears to be one contributing factor,” said Moskaluk.

David Finnis was driving home to Summerland from his job at the library in Westbank when he came upon the scene before any emergency services arrived.

“I was behind the accident by a couple of minutes. I first saw the cars pulled to the side of the road then came around the corner and saw this bus that was into the guard rail, a whole bunch of students were out behind it and people were swarming around,” said Finnis. “I couldn’t really tell how they were doing, but it was obvious something had just happened. There were people that looked concerned and others bending over someone.”

Finnis said he slowly backed up his vehicle after surveying the scene and seeing that people who knew first aid were already helping the accident victims.

“I turned on my flashing lights to try and be in a position to stop traffic before they came around the corner. There was about eight or 10 cars that kept going right past me around the accident. I knew the thing to do here was to try and stop traffic so emergency vehicles could get in,” said Finnis.

An RCMP collision reconstructionalist attended in order to examine the collision scene and traffic was diverted to alternating lanes while the scene was examined.


Just Posted

Third period surge lifts Penticton Vees to victory

Vees Ryan Sandelin gets the game winner over the Merritt Centennials

Penticton patient care tower fundraising going strong

About $14.3 million in donations for the Penticton hospital has come in

Exercising her right to fight

Thinking inside the box helped push Geneva Kostashen through cancer treatment

Council approves all tax exemption requests

List includes charities, service groups and the Penticton Golf and Country Club

Day 2 of RCMP search at Silver Creek residence

Police use backhoe in ongoing search effort at residential/agricultural Salmon River Road property

Mixing up local talent and cocktails

The annual Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff takes place in Kelowna in November

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Bantam Vees tournament good prep for start of the season

Penticton hockey team heads into regular season with just one loss in nine exhibition games

Auntie Says: Don’t bring your dope to my house

Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you, but if you try and smoke at my house, you’ll be asked to leave

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

Most Read