Police in Ottawa have laid criminal charges against the OC Transpo driver after a city double-decker bus crashed into a station overhang in January, killing three people and injuring 35 others.
Ottawa Police Service announced Friday that Aissatou Diallo has been charged with three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
“The Ottawa police collision investigators worked relentlessly to asses a mass of information to determine the cause of that tragic event on that day that impacted our entire community,” Interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell said at a news conference Friday morning.
Police said the 42-year-old driver turned herself into police Friday morning and was released on a promise to appear in court next month.
The charges stem from the Jan. 11 collision that killed Bruce Thomlinson, 56, Judy Booth, 57 and Anja Van Beek, 65, after the bus slammed into a metal overhang at the city’s Westboro station.
Bell described the eight-month investigation as being “very complex,” adding authorities interviewed more than 100 people “to ultimately reach the point where we are today that we are laying charges.”
“It takes time. And we knew that it was our responsibility to do an absolutely thorough job,” Bell said. “What that thoroughness did, was allow us to at this point to be able to release these charges and present the person before court.”
The bus was travelling on an express route from the downtown core to the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, where it slammed into the overhang, ripping through the upper level of the bus, crushing several seats and killing the federal government civil servants.
Following the news conference, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson released a statement, thanking first responders and offering condolences to the families of the victims.
“Today is a difficult day for the families of those three residents who lost their lives and all those who were injured in this tragic accident; my thoughts remain with them,” the mayor said. “This has been a traumatic experience for many members of our community, including within our OC Transpo family. My thanks go to all first responders and transportation safety experts who stepped up to help on the night of the incident and over the last eight months.”
The interim police chief said that the city wasn't criminally liable in the accident and no charges will be laid against the city, deeming the investigation closed.