Trial begins for bus driver in roundabout crash
Published Thursday, November 22, 2012 12:33PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 22, 2012 6:27PM EST
It was a crash that rocked the community of Kitchener-Waterloo and sparked major discussions about the safety of roundabouts in the region.
Thursday the trial began for the driver who was behind the wheel of the Grand River Transit bus that stuck Cassi Lam as she walked to St. Mary’s High School.
The crash left Cassi Lam with serious head and upper body injuries. The incident happened just a few weeks after the roundabout on Homer Watson last year.
Rafael Quintanilla is charged with careless driving. He was behind the wheel of the bus as it travelled through the roundabout on October 7, 2011.
Witnesses say Lam, who was at court Thursday with her mother, was struck by the bus and seriously injured as she attempted to cross Block Line.
Lawyer Stacey Stevens represents the Lam family in a civil lawsuit. “Just been a very, very stressful emotionally trying day for her.”
Witnesses testified Thursday the bus appeared to be maintaining and picking up speed as it exited the roundabout.
Quintanilla, who is no longer driving for Grand River Transit has the support of GRT colleague Jeanette Aubin.
“It’s horrible; it really knocks the wind out of your sails.” Aubin says. “Most people don’t realize what a driver goes through.”
This trial was expected to take four days but a charter challenge on the admissibility of a statement by the bus driver could add at least two more days to the trial. It may push its completion into the new year adding to the stress for Cassi Lam and her family.
“She’s focused on the future,” Stevens says of Cassi. “She wants to get back to as much normalcy as she can so she’s still looking forward to graduating grade 12 this year.”
Cassi Lam is scheduled to take the stand when the trial resumes on Tuesday.