St. Albert family mourns loss of 6-yr-old
Sep 28, 2013 / 7:39 pm
A day after a six-year-old boy was killed after being struck by a school bus, his family spoke out about the devastating loss of their “loving” and “free-spirited” child.
Thomas Wedman, died from his injuries after he was hit by a school bus in St. Albert, a suburb north of Edmonton.
Thomas was crossing the road near his elementary school when the accident happened. Several students were aboard the bus at the time of the incident.
As police Saturday continued to investigate exactly what happened, Thomas’ family remembered the second-grader as “the happiest little boy in the universe.”
“He filled our hearts with pure joy every day and I am devastated that his life has been cut short,” the family wrote in a post on Facebook.
The Wedman family has also requested that no memorial for Thomas be set up at the intersection where he was struck.
“My son and many other students from the school walk by this corner on a daily basis. I do not want these children or anyone else to have to relive this moment every day.”
The family thanked the community for their support and said they want Thomas to be remembered as the “the loving free spirited child that he was.”
Thomas’ heart valves were donated to the Alberta organ donor program. The family has asked that donations be made to the program in lieu of flowers.
School bus drivers in Alberta are also grieving the death, said Eric Brooks, a safety manager for bus operator Southland Transportation. He said bus drivers consider the children on their buses as family.
“There were a lot of tears around the office yesterday, and it wasn’t our company and it wasn’t one of our drivers that was involved,” Brooks told CTV News.
The bus involved in the crash was operated by First Student Canada.
While the incident is still under investigation, St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse has ordered a review of all crosswalks and intersections at the city’s 25 schools.
Police said Friday that the intersection where Thomas was struck has a crosswalk, but the crossing is not controlled by traffic lights. They could not confirm if crossing guards were on duty at the intersection at the time of the accident.
Cindy Debruijn, whose son was in Thomas’ class, called his death preventable.
“It’s not surprising because I’ve had conversations with the mom who lost her little boy about what we can do to make that intersection more safe,” she told CTV News.
DeBruijn said she has brought her concerns about the intersection to city administrators, but requests for more pedestrian crossings were turned down.
Meanwhile, the RCMP has said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
The school bus industry has undergone several changes over the past five years to improve school bus safety, which Alberta Transportation says are working. But officials said they will look closely to see if anything can be done to prevent such an incident in the future.
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