By The Canadian Press on February 8, 2024.
LAVAL – Two white balloons were released into the sky today at a solemn ceremony marking one year since a bus smashed through the front of a Montreal-area daycare, killing two young children and injuring six more.
Daycare workers and families gathered in a park near the Garderie Ã‰ducative Ste-Rose in Laval, which became the site of the tragedy when a city bus turned off the street and roared down the daycare’s driveway during the busy morning drop-off period.
André Beaudoin, a father of two who helped pull children from under the bus the morning of the crash, said seeing the victims’ families helps with the grieving process.
He said he still remembers raising his head and seeing the bus roll past him in the parking lot as he was unbuckling his son’s seatbelt on the morning of Feb. 8, 2023.
Five-year-old MaÃ«va David and four-year-old Jacob Gauthier died in the crash, while six other children were sent to hospital.
The daycare asked that people not leave flowers or stuffed animals outside the building but rather make a donation to the foundations of hospitals that treated victims, Cité de la Santé in Laval and Ste-Justine children’s hospital in Montreal.
Former city bus driver Pierre Ny St-Amand is charged with two counts of first-degree murder as well as seven other charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault.
A preliminary hearing is set for March, and Ny St-Amand’s lawyer says he plans to argue the 52-year-old did not have the necessary criminal intent for first-degree murder.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2024.