Blowing snow Sunday morning was a leading factor that caused a chartered bus to ram into the back of a semi, killing the bus driver and a passenger, police said yesterday.
But Const. Dion Barry with the Edson RCMP says investigators will also check for possible mechanical problems and will seek the help of a medical examiner to determine if 71-year-old Irvin Reich suffered from any health problems while he was driving the bus.
“We haven’t made an exact determination at this point in time, but that’s part of the process we’re in right now with our investigation,” said Barry.
Police say the westbound bus slammed into the back of the transport truck carrying a load of pipe around 7 a.m. on Highway 16 near the Niton Junction — about 130 km west of Edmonton.
Reich, a driver with the Golden Arrow Motor Coach bus service for four years, died on scene and one of two passengers listed in critical condition later died after being airlifted to Edmonton.
The name of the passenger has not been released. The other passenger is still listed in critical condition, says Capital Health.
Reich had been a bus driver since 1990, his brother told Metro yesterday.
“He was the kind of guy who was always friendly, he liked people, and that’s why he liked driving the bus because he was a people person,” said Bert Reich.
Reich, who lived in Evansburg, Alta., used to own his own bus company before joining Golden Arrow and also ran a Christian youth ranch.
“For him, bus driving wasn’t hard work and he was physically in good shape that provided him a bit of extra income,” said his brother.
“He got to see all of Alberta, and he even got to see parts of the U.S. He enjoyed his work.”
Glen Bartel, general manager with Golden Arrow, said the company has provided counselling for its grieving workers and will conduct its own investigation.