Kitchener-Waterloo

School bus driver charged with careless driving after fiery crash west of New Hamburg

Six Stratford high school students aboard a school bus suffered bumps and bruises in a school bus crash west of New Hamburg Monday morning. The bus was destroyed by fire and the bus driver has been charged with careless driving.

Students safe, driver charged with careless driving, police say

A firefighter stands on a bus destroyed by fire Monday morning. Perth County OPP say the bus left the road and crashed into a tree west of New Hamburg. The driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries. There were high school students on the bus at the time, but no serious injuries and none were taken to hospital. (Ontario Provincial Police)

A school bus with six students aboard was completely destroyed by fire Monday morning after it struck a tree west of New Hamburg, Ont. Ontario Provincial Police in Perth County say.

The 49-year-old school bus driver has been charged with careless driving.

A burned-out school bus is seen in this a photo tweeted by Perth County OPP. The bus left the road and crashed into a tree west of New Hamburg Monday morning. (Ontario Provincial Police)

The Stratford high school students were all able to get off the First Student school bus safely after it crashed at around 8 a.m. Some had bumps and bruises, but none of the students needed to be taken to hospital for treatment. 

"It was quite an impact when they hit the tree," Const. Kees Wijnands told CBC News.

The driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

A school bus was destroyed by fire after leaving the road and crashing into a tree early Monday morning. Perth County OPP said the crash happened west of New Hamburg. The driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries. There were high school students on the bus and some suffered bumps and bruises, but none were taken to hospital. (Ontario Provincial Police)

The crash happened on Line 41, which is a narrow, rural road, Wijnands said. The bus left the road, entered a ditch, hit a small tree and then made a sudden stop when it hit a larger tree.

"It seemed to have just veered off the roadway, a pretty straight line. There seemed to be no reason for it just from what I could see at the scene," Wijnands said.

The students and driver were off the bus before it caught fire, he added.

'Completely gutted'

Wijnands, who posted photos of the crash on Twitter, said it's the first time in his 29 years on the force that he's seen a bus gutted by fire.

"There is not a piece of vinyl left," he said. "Everything was completely gutted. Flames were shooting out of all the windows."

He said school bus evacuation drills done in elementary school helped get the students off the bus safely.

"I know some of the high school kids that were spoken to this morning mentioned, 'Everything [that] we learned back then just kind of made us very calm and we just did what we had to do.'"