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12-year-old seriously hurt after incident involving snowplow near Julie Payette Public School in Whitby

Last Updated Feb 17, 2021 at 1:09 pm EDT

Durham Regional Police say a boy remains in hospital in serious condition after an incident on Tuesday that involved a snowplow in Whitby.

Const. Conrad Wong said Tuesday that officers were notified shortly after 9:30 a.m. about an accident just outside Julie Payette Public School.

One child, a 12-year-old boy, suffered serious injuries and was rushed to a trauma centre in Toronto, where he remains.

Wong says a girl roughly the same age was also hurt, suffering minor injuries as a result.

“We received information that the injuries were caused by snow that had been pushed by a snowplow,” the Const. said.

“Paramedics arrived on scene and provided treatment to the young girl. The young boy was subsequently transported to a local hospital and is receiving treatment for serious injuries.”

Wong says it’s believed the children were playing on school grounds when the snowplow was working on a nearby property, pushing snow that supposedly broke through a fence.

Durham police performed CPR on the boy at the scene.

Witnesses and onlookers tell 680 NEWS that the snowplow driver called for help and neighbours then rushed to assist the children.

One of them, a man named Noel, says he helped dig the kids out from under the snow.

“Yes, [they] were under the snow for 5 to 10 minutes,” he said.

Noel says the boy had blood on his face when he was first rescued. The girl was only partially buried.

It’s also unclear if they were out for recess. Both children are students at Julie Payette Public School, police said.

 

In an update on Wednesday, Durham police said they’re conducting a parallel investigation with the Ministry of Labour.

This comes after pandemic restrictions and a stay-at-home order were eased in most Ontario health units as the province moves forward with its gradual reopening plan.

Durham entered Ontario’s “Red-Control” zone as a result, joining several other health units.

Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, and North Bay Parry Sound are set to remain under the stay-at-home order until at least Feb. 22.

In early Feb., Durham District’s School Board (DDSB) confirmed it’s been discussing the possibility of changing the name of Julie Payette Public School after a report found the former Governor-General had “belittled, berated and publicly humiliated Rideau Hall staff” and “created a toxic, verbally abusive workplace.”

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