Ottawa Police accepts offer of technical assistance from TSB, following Westboro bus crash

OTTAWA — Ottawa Police called a briefing today, acknowledging that they have accepted the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s (TSB) offer to aid them with technical assistance.

Chief Bordeleau made the following statement:

“On Monday, we worked with the families to provide media with the names of those who suffered fatal injuries. That included photos as well as statements from their loved ones.

Our condolences and thoughts are with those families.

I also want to acknowledge the many victims who are still dealing with their injuries. Many people have a long road ahead after this tragedy and it’s important we support them as a community.

The Ottawa Police Service is the lead agency responsible for this motor vehicle collision investigation.

The investigation is being conducted in two parts.

The first part will determine if any offence has been committed.

The second part of the investigation focuses on the reconstruction and will attempt to identify the cause of the collision and any contributing factors to the fatalities and the severity of the injuries. This is being done in collaboration with the Coroner’s office.

From past investigations, we have developed a close working relationship with the Regional Supervising Coroner’s Office, Transport Canada, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, as well as the OPP and RCMP.

From the moment we learned of this collision my investigative team was reaching out to these partners for their expertise and technical assistance. We continue to receive support from our partners and welcome any assistance they may provide.

Yesterday, after consulting with the investigative team, I have accepted the offer of technical assistance from the TSB, and we have made a formal request for the TSB to support the current Ottawa Police Service investigation of the collision.

Under its Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, the TSB has agreed to provide technical expertise with respect to safety matters relating to this collision.  Its input will assist with the OPS Reconstructionist Team investigation and support the Coroner’s active investigation. The TSB will have no role in assigning fault or determining civil or criminal liability.

Also, the TSB will provide no analysis to the criminal portion of this investigation.

We believe the skills of the TSB will augment the reconstruction portion of the investigation especially in terms of collision reconstruction, human factors and electronic data gathering.

The expertise of the TSB could also assist in vehicle and road design analysis. That could include the structural integrity of the vehicle and any structures.

As I said, the Ottawa Police Service remains the lead investigative body.

We are examining every aspect of this collision. Should any safety issues or recommendations that require immediate attention be identified, the OPS will promptly and publicly notify OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa through the Fatal Collision Review Committee.

Our entire Collision Investigation team has been tasked to investigate and reconstruct this collision scene.

The reconstruction team has collected evidence at the scene, taken measurements of the physical evidence, collected photographs of the scene and gathered aerial footage from our drone.

Information about weather and road conditions, condition of the vehicle and information about the driver are also being collected. We also continue to collect relevant imagery from the security cameras and other sources.

We continue to retain the double-decker bus in our possession and we are preparing to inspect the vehicle with all our partners including the TSB.

Our investigative team continues to work on identifying all the passengers and to interview victims and witnesses to this collision. That process is expected to take weeks.

We all want answers. But it will take time.

As with any investigation, we are limited in what information we can release but we will continue to be as transparent as we can.

I want to thank the investigators who have been working very long hours to conduct this work. I have full confidence in them and their abilities. I also want to thank our partners for their ongoing support.”

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