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

Just Posted

Drive-in theatre proposed for Grand Forks

City councillors will vote next month on whether to permit the use of the private property

Morning start: This famous singer is from the West Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Tuesday, May 26

West Kootenay SAR crews rescue injured mountain biker near Rossland

Crews were called in to help after the biker seriously injured himself at around noon Saturday

City of Rossland looks to implement mail ballot voting

City said new procedure could make voting easier and more accessible for residents

Bears are back, so is Rossland/Trail WildSafeBC

The organization will deliver service this season mindful of pandemic precautions

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Most Read