Driver charged with 1st-degree murder after bus crashes into daycare, killing 2 children

By CityNews Staff

Two young children were killed and six others were injured after a city bus crashed into a Laval daycare in Sainte-Rose, north of Montreal, Wednesday morning.

The 51-year-old driver of the Société de transport de Laval (STL) bus, Pierre Ny St-Amand, was arrested and taken into custody.

He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm.

He appeared by video at the Laval courthouse from his hospital bed at Sacré-Coeur. His next court appearance is Feb. 17.

One child was declared dead on the scene, police say. The other was taken to Cité-de-la-Santé in Laval and was later declared dead.

The lives of the six other children who were taken to hospital are no longer in danger.

Four of those – two boys and two girls – were treated at Montreal’s Sainte-Justine hospital. The other two kids were transported to Cité-de-la-Santé and remain under observation.

One adult was taken to hospital for shock.

It happened around 8:30 a.m. at Garderie Éducative located on Terrasse Dufferin, near Sénécal Street. Laval police set up a large perimeter with many parents on the scene.

A crisis centre has also be put in place to offer psychological support to first responders on the scene.

“Obviously we’re supporting those who are in a state of shock right now,” said Laval Mayor Stéphane Boyer. “I’m letting the police officers do their work. The children who were injured were transported to hospital. It’s psychological help right now onsite that’s being given.”

Children were stuck under bus, says eye witness

Hamdi Benchaabane, a witness on the scene who spoke to CityNews in French, says children were stuck under the bus, and he helped get one out.

Benchaabane also says he was among a few men who helped control the bus driver. He alleges after the driver crashed into the daycare, the man came out of the bus in a state of crisis, screaming, removing his clothes, and police had a difficult time controlling him.

Laval police Chief Pierre Brochet says the driver had 10 years’ experience with the STL.

The accused, Pierre Ny St-Amand, faces many charges including two counts of first-degree murder. (Credit: Facebook/Pierre Ny St-Amand)

Speaking to media Wednesday morning Quebec Premier Legault said in French: “We just found out about what happened in Laval. We have little information. What we know is that a bus went into a daycare and there are serious injuries. My thoughts are with the children, the parents of the children, the employees of the daycare.”

He said Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel, the minister responsible for Laval, Christopher Skeete, and Minister of Families Suzanne Roy were en route to the scene.

WATCH: Trudeau sends condolences to Laval parents, family

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered his thoughts to the children, families, and employees on Wednesday morning.

“I want to start by saying how devastated we all are about the news out of Laval where a bus crashed into a daycare,” said Trudeau. “Obviously we’re all hoping, praying that the kids are alright or that they pull through to get well soon. I can’t imagine what the families are going through.

“But obviously if there’s anything the federal government can do, we’ll be there. But I know the first responders and everyone is very active on this right now.”

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