The bus driver involved in a fatal crash that killed a six-year-old St. Albert boy last September received a $2,000 fine in court Monday.
Joseph Allen of Edmonton was not present at St. Albert Court. His lawyer entered a guilty plea on his behalf to failing to yield to a pedestrian.
Allen was the driver of the school bus that struck and killed Thomas Wedman on Sept. 27, 2013. The Grade 2 student at École Marie Poburan was walking to school with his father and older brother that morning.
Allen was originally charged with careless driving and failing to yield to a pedestrian. In January he pleaded not guilty to both charges and was scheduled to stand trial on June 24.
Allen was given a $2,000 fine on Monday. The careless driving charge was withdrawn.
On the morning of the incident, Thomas was walking to school with his dad and older brother Isaac at around 8:40. Both boys ran ahead of their father. The school bus stopped as Isaac crossed the street at a marked crosswalk, but when Thomas attempted to cross Woodlands Road, the driver didn't see him and proceeded to make a right turn from Sir Winston Churchill Avenue, court heard.
Judge Bruce Garriock said the event was truly tragic and that the court cannot in any shape or form address the family's grief.
Family members were not present at the sentencing. A victim impact statement was submitted to the court but was not made public. In a statement to the Gazette, Thomas' father Jeff said the family has followed the legal proceedings but decided not to become emotionally invested in the outcome.
"That being said, we are very much pleased there was a guilty plea entered and a trial avoided. Having to relive that terrible day for the court was something we were very much hoping to avoid."
"Trying to correlate the punishment meted out by the court with the effect the tragedy has had on our lives is a lose-lose situation. Doing so is the proverbial comparing apples with oranges, and we refuse to go down that path."
The family is adjusting to life 9 months after Thomas' death, Jeff wrote.
"All our family events, no matter how joyous, are coloured by the realization there is an empty chair and a missing smile. We miss him more than we ever would have thought possible."
The school bus was contracted by St. Albert Public Schools and was heading to Keenooshayo Elementary School. It was operated by First Student Canada. Allen has been suspended pending the completion of an internal investigation.
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