Bus driver convicted of careless driving

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The bus driver who was at the wheel during an accident that injured three Valleyview students has been convicted of careless driving.

Dawn Knapp, a contract driver working for Golden Arrow, was charged after her bus crashed on Highway 665 near Range Road 212 the morning of Sept. 23. She appeared in Valleyview provincial court Jan. 7.

Knapp claims she had only been driving the bus for about a week and wasn’t used to it. She says she was driving 80 km/hr when she tried to pull down the shade on the driver side window because the sun was reflecting in her mirror.

Knapp says she then veered off the road and into the opposite ditch.

Photos taken by family members at the scene of the accident that day show the bus on its side.

Knapp pleaded not guilty to a single charge of careless driving, but the court found her guilty and she was fined $1,100 and suspended from driving for 30 days.

Owen Lewis, of KMSC Law LLP, is representing the families of all three students who were injured in the crash.

“One of the children was emergency airlifted by STARS to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton and another child has yet to return to school due to her injuries,” Lewis says.

“We will take the necessary steps to assure that the physical and psychological injuries sustained by the children in this unfortunate incident will be adequately compensated by the responsible parties and to help assure the future safety of students on school busses in the region.”

Lewis says school divisions are required to provide reliable and safe transportation for children under their care and parents expect their children to be safe on a school bus.

“We will investigate further to determine whether the school division and the private operator, Golden Arrows School Buses Ltd., took all necessary precautions and actions to ensure the safety of their student passengers,” Lewis says.

“Clearly, in this case, the driver failed to act as a prudent and responsible driver.”

Neither Northern Gateway School Division or Golden Arrow responded to requests for comment.

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