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Driver who crashed into residential pool no longer works for bus company

2809 bus file
Kirk Lewis, front, a truck operator for Grandin Towing, and his manager Jim Paul, back, slip on the work gloves and survey the scene of a bus crash into a residential swimming pool in St. Albert on July 29, 2019. FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

A bus driver who crashed an empty school bus into a residential backyard in July has been charged with careless driving and failing to wear a seatbelt.

St. Albert RCMP confirmed in an email Thursday morning Margaret Knight, 69, of Edmonton, was issued the two provincial traffic tickets after RCMP reviewed evidence from witnesses, the school bus' mechanical report and video footage from the bus.

The incident in question happened July 29 when Knight drove a school bus into a pool on Morgan Crescent. Nearby residents came to her aid, pulling her from the bus.

Witnesses told the Gazette the driver blew through a stop sign at the intersection of Mission and McKenney Ave., turned into oncoming traffic and drove up on the boulevard before crashing through a fence and part of a tree and into the pool.

Homeowner Bob Hanson, whose property the bus crashed into, and his son-in-law Sam Akplu were outside and watching when the bus charged into their backyard. The two told the Gazette in July they were shocked by the sight.

“Our jaws just dropped,” Akplu said in July, saying it took a few minutes to register what they were seeing.

The duo were thankful they hadn’t been standing on the deck at the time, as they would have been hit by the bus or the part of the tree it downed as it crashed into the yard.

No one was injured as a result, except the driver, who was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

After the conclusion of the investigation, which showed the crash was a result of driver error, Knight was let go from her job at Cunningham Transport.

Laura Doroshenko, general manager at Cunningham Transport, said the company is so thankful nobody was seriously injured and that the investigation found there was nothing mechanically wrong with the bus.

Doroshenko said after the incident, the company got a mechanical inspection done on the bus and found there were no problems with it before it crashed into the pool.

Doroshenko said the company follows strict government regulations for the safety of its buses.

The Cunningham Transport training program requires 53.5 training hours for every driver who is behind the wheel of the bus.

“We keep a really tight ship here, we have our buses inspected according to Alberta Transportation guidelines every six months,” Doroshenko said.

“That bus was mechanically sound just like every other bus on our fleet.”

The general manager said the company, which was opened by her parents, has been in St. Albert since 1972 and they care deeply about the community.

“We are not a fly-by-night outfit. We have been here for over 45 years and we are here to stay,” Doroshenko said.

The manager said she isn’t sure how the driver is doing now, but said she did have an injury to her hand that required medical attention.

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette and has been with Great West Media since 2015
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