Bus driver charged following school bus crash near Woodstock, Ont.

A careless driving charge has been laid against a bus driver after a school bus carrying 40 elementary school students rolled over south of Woodstock on Tuesday morning.

OPP were called to the scene at the intersection of Dodge Line and Cuthbert Road around 8:15 a.m., where they found the bus had left the roadway and rolled over onto its side.

Five children reported non-life-threatening injuries, including one child who was airlifted to hospital in London.

The remaining four injured students were taken to hospital in Woodstock.

OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk told CTV News a person from a nearby farm house ran to the scene shortly after the crash to help students get out of the bus.

In an update from Oxford County OPP late Tuesday, the 34-year-old bus driver, a resident of Oxford County, has been charged with careless driving causing bodily harm. 

The accused is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Woodstock on April 18. 

OPP are on scene of a single-vehicle crash involving a school bus, south of Woodstock. March 5, 2024. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)

Education minister reacts to crash

“Obviously this is a worst nightmare for any family. We’re very much thinking about the community that’s impacted, I know this is an independent school, but nonetheless, [we’re] thinking about the family, the community and the kids, and we hope they’re all safe,” Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said in a statement to reporters at Queen’s Park on Tuesday.

When asked about the issue of school buses not having seatbelts, Lecce said it was too soon to comment and that the school first needs to conclude its investigation into the accident.

“I think our focus right now should be our collective prayer to make sure these kids are safe and they get home,” he said.

 — With files from CTV News Toronto’s Siobhan Morris 

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