Thursday, February 10, 2011

CBC: 5th Que. bus-van crash victim dies

Intersection was the site of similar accident in 2001

Click here to read the original story on CBC website.

A fifth person has died after a van collided with a school bus Wednesday in Ste-Geneviève de Berthier, Que.

Provincial police said Thursday morning that Gilles Chartier, 26, had died of injuries sustained in the accident.

Four men were killed Wednesday after the van they were in swerved into oncoming traffic and collided with a school bus on a rural Quebec highway.

Steeve Larochelle, 32, Sébastien Cormier, 30, Pierre-Luc Martel, 22, all of St. Côme, Que., all died at the scene.

Jocelyn Beauchamps, 28, of Joliette, Que., died later on Wednesday in hospital, and three other men remain in hospital with serious injuries.

None of the 12 students on the school bus were seriously injured, but several were treated for shock.

Police are still not sure what caused the collision.

"Has the driver fallen asleep, maybe, coming back from work, did he slip and go to the other lane, what were the road conditions ... so everything is going to be looked at," said Sgt. Benoît Richard of provincial police.

Richard said police are also trying to determine if the men were wearing seatbelts.

The poultry company the van belonged to, Pigeon 2006, has confirmed the van's passengers were employees, but declined requests for an interview.

Dangerous intersection
There have been concerns in the past surrounding the intersection where the accident took place.

A 60-year-old woman was killed at the same intersection in a similar accident in 2001.

As a result, a coroner recommended Transport Quebec make changes to the intersection, which features a sharp curve where two secondary highways meet.

Transport Quebec did subsequently add a flashing yellow light to improve visibility, and put forward a plan to install a roundabout at the intersection.

But 10 years after the first fatal accident, that hasn't happened.

"You have to understand that a highway project can sometimes take many years to realize," said Transport Quebec's Claude Ouimet.

She said preliminary studies are underway on the roundabout project, and it should be completed within a few years.