School kids in crash bus were not wearing seat belts
SUMMERLAND, B.C. – RCMP accident investigators say several of the 14 students aboard a Penticton area school bus that was involved in a fatal crash with a small car that crossed into its path were not wearing their seat belts.
A 17-year-old girl remained in hospital on Wednesday while eight other school kids and their teacher were released from hospital.
The accident occurred when a red car crossed over from the northbound lanes of Highway 97 straight into the path of the school bus.
The driver of the small car, a 46-year-old man from Oliver, B.C. was killed inside the mangled wreckage of the vehicle.
“Vehicle and scene examinations have been completed by the RCMP collision analyst. Investigators were able to confirm that the female teacher operating the bus was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the collision, which contributed greatly to minimizing her injuries,” said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.
“Investigators spoke with student passengers as well today, in order to determine other facts including the extent of seatbelt usage by the passengers, given that the bus was equipped with seatbelts for all occupants,” he said.
“Scene examination also confirmed that the point of impact was well within the southbound lane confirming witness testimony, that the red sedan had crossed over the center line into the opposing lane.”
“There is also telltale evidence in the bus indicating the lack of seatbelt usage by the bus passengers, which is very concerning. It is extremely fortunate for these students that the injuries sustained were not more serious. 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 traveling in a vehicle designed and equipped with seatbelts, use them.” Stated Moskaluk.
Why the teacher, also the driver of the bus, did not insist on all students tying their seat-belts is not clear. It is also not clear if students violated any instructions she may have given them.
Moskaluk said all the children who were taken to Penticton Regional Hospital were released on Wednesday.
A girl, 17, who was airlifted to Kelowna remained in hospital on Wednesday.
Why the small car crossed over into the path of a bus going in the opposite direction is still under investigation.