Ottawa police have identified all six victims who died following Thursday’s collision between a Via Rail train and a city bus.
Police released the names of the deceased — all residents of Ottawa — with the their families’ permission:
- Michael Bleakney, 57
- Connor Boyd, 21
- Karen Krzyzewski, 53
- Kyle Nash, 21
- Rob More, 35
- Dave Woodard, 45
Woodford was the OC Transpo bus driver — one of five people who was pronounced dead at the scene. The sixth person died in hospital.
Nash and Boyd were students at Carleton University, the school said.
Krzyzewski, a 28-year employee at the Library and Archives Canada, worked as an electronic publications acquisitions assistant.
Woodard, a father of three children — an 18-year-old daughter and two step-sons — celebrated his wife Terry’s birthday the day before.
“He showed up at work with flowers and balloons … he would do anything to make me happy,” Terry said.
Woodard’s colleagues described him as a safe driver and “one of the nicest guys.”
Terry expressed her sympathies for the victims’ families, but she urged them not to assume her husband was a bad driver.
“Please don’t blame him. Something had to go wrong because there’s no way he would have drive right through. His main job was to make sure that his passengers were safe, and he always made sure his passengers were safe,” she said.
Witnesses said the bus didn’t stop as lights flashed, bells rang and safety barriers dropped across the road at the approach of the train, which was slowing for a station stop.
The crash, which ripped the front off the bus, took place at a level crossing on a transit-way dedicated to bus traffic.
Transportation Safety Board investigators have recovered the data recorders from the train and bus.
The board has said it may take months to unravel why the crowded bus drove through a lowered safety barrier and ran into the train just outside a Via station in the western suburbs.
Statements from the victims’ families and colleagues
“The family of Kyle Nash are devastated by his tragic and premature death. He was deeply loved. They thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy to grieve at this time,” the Nash family statement said.
“We are devastated by the loss of our son, Connor. He was on his way to university, a place he loved,” Boyd’s family said in a statement.
“He was so amazing and we are so proud of who he was. We are comforted to know he knew we loved him and we were proud of him. We are overwhelmed by the support from family, friends and the community.”
“We are very saddened by the loss of Karen. She was a gentle spirit who was caring and compassionate to others. She loved life to the fullest,” Krzyzewski’s family said in a written statement.
“It was with great sadness that we at Library and Archives Canada learned last night of the sudden and tragic passing of Karen Krzyzewski, one of our employees,” said Herve Dery, the acting librarian at the Library and Archives Canada.
“She was a dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced employee who will be greatly missed by her friends and colleagues at the institution.”
Mike was the best husband and father anyone could ask for. His friends and family meant everything to him.
He had a distinct and contagious laugh and it was heard often.
He will be sorely missed by all those whose lives he touched.