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

Literacy Week coming to Trail: Make reading time, family time

Family Literacy Week in B.C. runs Jan. 26 to Feb. 2

The Voice of Raisin: A whiff down memory lane

The Trail Times is introducing a new column. Benjamin Howard recently moved… Continue reading

Rossland council okays temp shelter for local man

Garry Camozzi can stay in the trailer until October 2020

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

New York county gave Salmo River canyon its name

Place Names: Shenango Canyon, Sheep Creek City, Beaverville

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read