RCMP investigate 2 school bus crashes after death of Monica Domes

Two Sun West School Division buses have crashed in the Biggar area, in the last month.

Official with local RM says the same driver was involved in both collisions

A crash near Biggar, Sask. Monday killed 40-year-old Monica Domes. (RCMP)

The RCMP is investigating two separate crashes of school buses owned by the Sun West School Division in the Biggar area.

RCMP are invesitgating two seperate Sun West school bus crashes, that have occured in the Biggar area, in the last month. (CBC News)
On Monday, a Sun West school bus struck and killed Monica Domes. The 40-year-old mother was waiting for help on the side of the road when the bus struck her. 

CBC News has learned that less than a month ago, on January 15, a Sun West school bus hit a ditch and rolled -- also in the Biggar area. RCMP said that road conditions in the Biggar area were poor during this accident, however the file is open and the investigation is ongoing.

At this time, RCMP consider the two investigations in the Sun West school bus crashes separate.

3 kids and driver injured

Domes' twin sons, Michael and James, were riding home on the bus at the time it hit their mother. The Biggar-area resident died from her injuries on the way to the hospital.

RCMP said weather conditions were good when this accident occurred. RCMP said their investigation into the fatal incident will rely heavily on evidence gathered from the scene by a collision analyst, as well as information gathered from interviews with those involved.

The bus driver and three children were injured. 

RCMP said they plan to question the driver in Monday's crash, who was recently released from hospital in Saskatoon where he was being treated for non-life threatening injuries. 

Same bus driver involved in crashes, RM official says 

An official with the local RM of Biggar says the school bus driver involved in the crash that killed Domes was involved in the previous crash. 

Larry Antonenko said Domes had called the RM office to complain about the condition of Monarch Road, where the first incident happened, on the day of the initial accident. 

"It was very, very windy and very icy," said Antonenko, a councillor with the RM who lives just up the road. 

He went to check out the situation, and said he believes ice was the main factor of the crash. 

Antonenko said he remains confident in the driver's ability, even after the two incidents. 

"He drove the bus with my children for a number of years here and I have no complaints," said Anteneko. "He did a good job. He was conscientious. I don't think his driving was factored into the fact of him sliding off the road at all."

Neither the school board nor the RCMP have confirmed it was the same driver involved in the collisions. 

School bus safety

The provincial auditor released a report on school bus safety before Monday's crash. 

School divisions have their own transportation safety policies, but the auditor said the Ministry of Education needs to do more.

Currently all school buses are required to get a yearly safety inspection. Also, bus drivers must hold a license, write three tests, pass a road test and have a medical exam.

First Student Canada, a school bus transportation company in Regina, uses a tracking system, known as Zonar, that monitors drivers. 

"So if someone happens to say one of our drivers was speeding down the highway or around the street going 60 kilometres an hour, our company can go and check that Zonar and it tells exactly how fast they were going down the road, what time they picked up the student, everything," said Barry Thomson, with First Student Canada. 

If a parent has a concern about a school bus or driver, they can take it to the principal of a school or the bus company.