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RCMP won't be able to talk to bus driver in deadly Carberry crash

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As the first anniversary of the Carberry crash approaches, Manitoba RCMP provided an update on the investigation and how the first responders are doing a year later.

On June 15, 2023, a bus with 25 people on board left Dauphin to visit a casino near Carberry when it was struck by a semi at the intersection of Highway 5 and the Trans-Canada Highway. Seventeen people died as a result of the crash.

Speaking to media Thursday, Supt. Rob Lasson spoke about one of the first times he addressed the public following the tragedy, and how he promised the RCMP would provide thorough and accurate answers regarding the incident.

"I am now confident that we have gathered the appropriate evidence required to do that and that our evidence sits with the Crown pending review," said Lasson, who confirmed the investigation was submitted with the potential for charges.

Lasson said police have been able to talk to survivors of the crash, but have been unable to talk with the bus driver, noting it is due to his ongoing medical condition. Police had previously said the semi-driver had the right of way.

"We won't be able to talk to the driver."

Lasson called this a unique and complex investigation and pointed to those factors as the reason why it took so long to submit the final results.

"We needed to get this right and I am confident that we did."

The impact on first responders

When asked about how the first responders to the crash are dealing now, Lasson said this is an incident that is going to stick with them for the rest of their lives.

"This is something that is unimaginable for first responders and police officers, even though throughout our careers we attend many tragic scenes. But this one was honestly above and beyond anything that we can comprehend."

The majority of the officers involved in attending the scene and investigating the incident are back to work in some capacity Lasson said, and he noted RCMP has programs in place to monitor these officers.

A memorial to remember the victims will be unveiled on June 15, 2024, in Dauphin. Lasson said some officers who attended the scene a year ago will be in attendance.

"It'll be sad, very emotional, mourning, grieving…police officers are people too and when we experience things like this, there is a personal connection made to that. We can't help that."

Ahead of Saturday, Lasson again offered his condolences and apologized to the impacted families for the loss they have experienced. He also thanked them for their ongoing understanding and help during the investigation.

- With files from The Canadian Press

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