OTTAWA – Police have released the names of the three people killed in Friday’s (Jan. 11) OC Transpo bus crash at Westboro station.
West Carleton’s Judy Booth, 57, and Ottawa’s Anja Van Beek, 65, and Bruce Thomlinson, 56, are the three people identified by police earlier today (Jan. 14).
“This tragedy has shaken our family deeply,” the Booth family said in a statment released by the Ottawa Police. “We thank everyone for their kind words and best wishes during this difficult time. Judy was a cherished wife to Ches and loving mother to both of her girls, Holly and Karen. She was an absolute treasure and a beautiful soul that will be profoundly missed by her family and many friends. We ask that you respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our wife and mother.”
All three victims were public servants. Booth had retired from the National Capital Commission but was still working there part-time on contract.
She also operated Dunfiddich Farms with her husband Ches, a well-known West Carleton bagpiper.
Dunfiddich is a small farm producing homegrown vegetables as well as producing their own pickles, jams and jellies. The farm was a fairly regular vendor at the Constance Bay Community Market and Booth was a member of the board of directors.
As well as the three fatalities, 23 other people were injured, many seriously, when an OC Transpo double-decker bus, on an express route from downtown to a suburb in Kanata, slammed in to a bus shelter at Westboro station.
A book of condolences has been set up at Ottawa city hall for those wishing to send messages of support to the victims’ families.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson signed the book this afternoon with a message acknowledging the horror of the accident while also thanking first responders for working in challenging conditions.
“This is a very difficult time for our city. Our city is grieving,” Watson said.
He noted the police investigation is ongoing and would not comment on details involving the probe. He also urged people to refrain from jumping to conclusions.
The police investigation is now focusing on speaking with eyewitnesses and combing through the wreckage of the bus looking for clues about what caused the crash. The bus was equipped recording equipment and cameras.
“The identification of those who died is a difficult and important process and I want to offer the condolences of the Ottawa Police and our entire community,” said police Chief Charles Bordeleau. “We have worked to support the families and loved ones of those involved and will continue to be there for them.”
Ottawa Police and the regional coroner took steps this weekend to identify all three victims.
The names and photos are released with permission from the families.
“We are devastated by the loss of Bruce and our condolences go out to the other families affected by this same tragedy,” Thomlinson’s family said in the same statement. “We want to thank the public for their thoughts and prayers. Bruce was dedicated to his family and will be missed by his wife and his two boys, and extended family and friends. He was the husband and father that gave us great joy in life through his silliness, sense of humour and love of the outdoors. We ask that you respect our privacy as we mourn the loss of Bruce during this difficult time.”
Anja Van Beek resided in Kanata with her husband and two daughters,” the Van Beek family said. “She was a federal government employee on her way home from work Friday afternoon, on OC Transpo’s Bus 269. She leaves behind extended family in Ottawa, Toronto and the Netherlands. As you can understand, her family is grieving and would appreciate if you respected their privacy.”