March 1st, 2024

No charges in B.C. 2022 Christmas Eve bus crash that left 4 dead

By The Canadian Press on December 20, 2023.

First responders look over the scene of a bus crash on Highway 97C Okanagan Connector between Merritt and Kelowna in this Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022 handout photo. The BC Prosecution Service says there will be no charges stemming from the Christmas Eve 2022 bus crash that claimed four lives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Bill Gerber *MANDATORY CREDIT*

VICTORIA – The British Columbia Prosecution Service says there will be no charges stemming from a bus crash on an icy highway in the province’s Interior last Christmas Eve that killed four people.

Service spokesman Dan McLaughlin says it reached the decision after the Crown counsel assessing the allegations concluded that the standard for charges had not been met.

The prosecution service guideline says in order for charges to be approved, there must be a “substantial likelihood of conviction” based on the strength of the evidence as well as the public interest being served in a prosecution.

The crash of the bus operated by Alberta-based Ebus happened on Highway 97C, the Okanagan Connector, east of Merritt, when the bus went off the road and flipped on its side.

Police said extremely icy road conditions caused the rollover, with driving conditions described as “very poor with ice and snow on the road surface along with rain and hail falling.”

Four of the 40-plus people on the bus died in the crash, which prompted the Interior Health authority to trigger a code orange response for a mass-casualty event.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2023.

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