Chilliwack bus driver on wrong side of road wasn’t unsafely crossing train tracks: school district

Witness says driver was trying to sneak bus through train crossing arms, with students on board

A Chilliwack school bus driver caught on video on the wrong side of the road, was quick to draw concern from social media users. But the school district says the driver was under the impression traffic was being diverted into the oncoming lane.

The bus, filled with students, was videoed in the wrong side of the road on Broadway Avenue Friday morning, by a nearby motorist, as traffic was stopped at the railway crossing near First Avenue.

The video appears to show the bus stopped near the tracks, with a teacher walking around the bus. Commentary by the man who captured the video alleges the bus was trying to illegally cross the tracks by going through the oncoming lane.

But the Chilliwack School District says that until they review the footage from inside the bus, they are satisfied with the driver’s explanation with what transpired and deny he was attempting to cross.

Al Van Tassel, director of facilities and transportation for School District 33, said the driver had been part of a long line of traffic stuck at the crossing awaiting a train to clear the tracks.

The students on board were music students from Sardis secondary on their way to FG Leary, along with a district teacher.

According to the driver, traffic began to slowly move ahead of him, and he believed it was because an official flagger was directing cars to use the other lane to safely cross the tracks.

But as he drove closer, he realized that there was no flagger and cars had been travelling across the closed tracks illegally, Van Tassel said.

“He’s assuming there is a railroad flagging person allowing people to cross, and as he moves forward and gets to the crossing, he sees there is no flag person there,” Van Tassel told The Progress over the phone. “So the people in front of him were illegally crossing.”

He said the driver decided that was not acceptable, and the video taken was in fact of the teacher on board helping him reverse the bus.

Van Tassel said they have cameras on the bus and are able to review the footage.

“The bus driver never attempted to cross,” he affirmed. “He followed our policy.”

A student on board the bus confirmed that this was what she saw from her spot on the bus, through Facebook comments.

“Everyone was just driving around them so our bus driver gave it a try,” Lauren Stewart said on a Facebook post. She added that a train had just passed through and was stopped on the tracks and nobody on the bus was in danger at any time.

The bus did eventually successfully back up and turn around.

But the video caused an outcry on Facebook when it was posted, with many assuming the manoeuvre was unsafe.

The crossing is the same one where Chilliwack man Matthew Jarvis was killedwhen his mobility scooter’s tire became stuck in the tracks in May 2018.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Smithers Community Radio buys Lions railcar

The Lions are liquidating assets following dissolution announcement

Northwest Indigenous governments form new alliance

Alliance intended as way to share resources, maximize opportunities

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. tent camps persist as hotels, housing bought for homeless

Current estimate 40 camps, homeless counts stalled by COVID-19

Most Read