No charges to be laid in bus crash that left 17 dead near Carberry, Man.

An aerial view shows the site of the deadliest bus crash in Manitoba history. RCMP Supt. Rob Lawson said on Wednesday that no charges will be laid in the crash. (Tyson Koschik/CBC - image credit)
An aerial view shows the site of the deadliest bus crash in Manitoba history. RCMP Supt. Rob Lawson said on Wednesday that no charges will be laid in the crash. (Tyson Koschik/CBC - image credit)

No charges will be laid in the bus crash last year near Carberry, the deadliest in Manitoba history.

RCMP Supt. Rob Lawson said following a complex investigation that was very difficult for loved ones of the 17 people who died, Crown prosecutors reviewed the evidence and recommended against pursuing charges.

"This tragedy severely rocked all of Manitoba and had a profound effect on all of us," Lawson said.

RCMP and Crown attorney Chris Vanderhooft visited family members in Dauphin Tuesday to notify them of the news before the public announcement, Lawson said.

"Like the families, today will bring upon varied emotions," Lawson said.

"We hope to provide the 'why' of what happened … but in this case, we cannot say why the bus proceeded into the intersection that day when it was unsafe to do so."

Not all of the evidence investigators would usually pursue in such a case was available, Lawson said.

Investigators have been unable to interview the bus driver and don't anticipate that will change due to medical reasons, he said.

"We do not have the driver's account about what happened that day to help us understand his reasoning or actions proceeding into the intersection," he said.

"This was a very tragic collision, and it happened because of a choice made by the bus driver. However, we cannot prove that that choice that day was the result of anything criminal."

A review of the bus driver's cellphone confirmed there were no calls or texts going out or coming in at the time of the collision, said Lawson. However, the semi-trailer truck dashcam showed the bus "proceeded when it was unsafe."

The evidence also suggested that though "blind spots would be a significant issue in this case," that wasn't necessarily wholly responsible for the collision either, Lawson said.

On June 15, 2023, a bus carrying 25 people — most of them seniors from Dauphin, Man., and the surrounding area — headed to a casino near Carberry for a day trip. It was hit by a semi, which had the right of way, at the intersection of Highway 5 and the Trans-Canada Highway, just north of Carberry.

It was the deadliest bus crash in Manitoba history, killing 17 people and leaving eight others seriously injured.

The complex investigation included talking to survivors, analyzing vehicles and securing forensic reports, RCMP said at a  news conference earlier this month.