Ottawa bus crash victims include students, public servants
Bus passengers were 5 men and 1 woman who ranged in age from 21 to 57
Ottawa police have named all six victims in the city bus-Via Rail train crash Wednesday, with the list including two students and two public servants as well as the bus driver.
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Police say those killed when the OC Transpo Route 76 bus to downtown Ottawa collided with passenger Train 51 heading to Toronto are:
- Michael Bleakney, 57, a civil servant.
- Karen Krzyzewski, 53, a civil servant.
- Rob More, 35.
- Kyle Nash, 21, a university student.
- Connor Boyd, 21, a university student.
- Dave Woodard, 45, a city bus driver.
The crash sheared off the front of the bus, and left debris across the bus-only Transitway and along the railway in Barrhaven, a community in south Ottawa.
Also, more than 30 people were taken to hospital with injuries ranging from minor to severe.
Nash and Boyd, identified earlier Thursday by CBC News as among the victims, were high school friends and classmates at Carleton University.
2 public servants remembered
Bleakney and Krzyzewski were public servants who worked in Gatineau, Que. Bleakney was an engineer with Public Works and Government Services Canada and Krzyzewski worked at Library and Archives Canada as an electronics assistant.
Bleakney, a married father of four adult children, was a member of a Newfoundland and Labrador choir in Ottawa called Atlantic Voices. The group’s president, Brien Marshall, released a statement describing Bleakney as an avid cyclist.
“He wore his home province New Brunswick tartan proudly at all of our concerts,” Marshall wrote.
“Many of you will remember him as the go-to guy for all things Gaelic, and he was always quick with a joke or one-liner that he often laughed the loudest at through his moustachioed smile.”
Krzyzewski’s family also released a statement through police. It said she was a mother of two adult children, worked for Library and Archives Canada for 28 years, and had an active account on the social media site Pinterest.
“She was a gentle spirit who was caring and compassionate to others. She loved life to the fullest,” the statement read. “Karen's passing comes as a complete shock to family and friends.”
Krzyzewski’s department sent an email to her colleagues describing her as a talented knitter who was an expert in web harvesting for archived material.
'I lost my best friend'
Rick Larabie was Boyd’s best friend and an acquaintance of Nash. He and his other friends gathered at Larabie’s house Wednesday after learning about their friends’ sudden deaths.
“I didn’t know what to do. I lost my best friend. We all lost our best friend and we lost two friends that day. It was probably one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt in my life,” he told the CBC’s Kristy Nease.
Larabie said more friends were coming in from Toronto on Thursday to gather and grieve the loss of their two friends. Larabie said he knew Connor better, though they were all classmates at John McCrae Secondary School in Barrhaven.
“Connor was a hilarious guy … he had a very infectious laugh to the point that my parents had a shorter curfew for me when he was over because his laugh would travel through the house,” Larabie said.
Boyd, who worked at McDonald’s, was an English major at Carleton University with plans to go to Newfoundland and Labrador for teachers college, Larabie added.
Nash was studying for a degree in information technology and interactive multimedia and design. His family released a short statement that read, "The family of Kyle Nash are devastated by his tragic and premature death. He was deeply loved. They thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy to grieve at this time."
Carleton University said grief counsellors were being made available for staff and students.
'Like a little brother'
More, who had cerebral palsy, worked at IBM in Kanata, helping out in the cafeteria, setting up meetings.
Co-workers told the family: “He was like a little brother.”
More couldn’t drive, but his dad said he liked riding the bus and going to work. His father said he liked sitting on the second floor of the double-decker bus, looking out the window.
"He was doing what he liked doing," his dad said.
"What keeps going through my mind is how much we're going to miss him. He was a lot of fun. He made the best of everything and enjoyed life."