It was a hectic week for members of the Rimbey Detachment of the RCMP as they were involved in both the investigation of a bus collision that occurred on Wednesday, April 9 and a suspicious car fire north of the community the following day that has resulted in a homicide investigation.
The bus collision, which occurred approximately seven kilometres northeast of Rimbey, claimed the life of 17 year-old Jennifer Dawn Noble and sent two other students to hospital one of which was released the day of the collision while the other remains in critical but stable condition at an Edmonton hospital.
“We’ve completed all the interviews that we need and we’ve completed the examination of two of the three vehicles,” said Cpl. Ian McLean of the Rimbey RCMP. “Now the data that has been collected has to be examined by our collision analyst. He has working with him the Criminal Collision Investigation Team, suggesting that this is a criminal investigation, but because it involves the safety of youth, at this point in time the investigation is looking at any charges but more importantly, this investigation could be used in the future to prevent other accidents of this type.”
McLean said it could be a while yet until a final determination has been made into the cause of the collision, which occurred during extremely foggy conditions.
“We’re going to error on the side of time and we’re not going to rush into it,” McLean said. “I’m hoping we’ll have some definitive answers soon but for the time being, all I can say is we have completed our investigation to the final analysis.”
McLean added that there are currently six members of the RCMP - including two from the local Detachment, that are involved in the investigation.
He was also quick to acknowledge the many people who played a role in ensuring that things did not become much worse than they were while waiting for the RCMP and emergency services organizations to arrive on the scene, along with the professionalism they showed in performing their duties after arriving.
“I don’t think you could have been involved in a traumatic situation like that in New York City, and got the professional attention that was displayed by the local ambulance attendants and fire department that day,” he said.
In addition to recognizing the local fire department and ambulance attendance, McLean also mentioned average citizens who took it upon themselves to assist in any way they could such as members of the Alberta Highways Service who rushed to place flares on both sides of the collision scene; one particular gentleman who McLean said was stopping traffic with a flashlight and another gentleman who was kind enough to bring cups, sugar and hot coffee for all involved.
In particular, McLean acknowledged two individuals who were working at an auto body shop located very near the collision site who may have played a key role in making sure the scene was safe.
“As far as the two individuals who were working at the auto body shop, they went through great personal risk to go out on the highway and provide the assistance and comfort they could until our members arrived, and those two citizens will be getting some kind of recognition in the future,” McLean said.