COVER

TRAGEDY ON ‘A BAD STRETCH OF ROAD’

John DeMont May 7 2001
COVER

TRAGEDY ON ‘A BAD STRETCH OF ROAD’

John DeMont May 7 2001

TRAGEDY ON ‘A BAD STRETCH OF ROAD’

Ruth Roach knew what the loud thud that shattered the 5 a.m. silence meant: another vehicle roaring down the New Brunswick highway had missed the hairpin curve on the interchange below her house. “That is a bad stretch of road,” the 66-year-old retiree told Maclean's from her home outside the farming town of Sussex. “If you don’t know it’s coming there’s no way you’re going to be able to make that turn.” Looking out at the

scene, she and her husband, Frank, saw a bus, lying on its side. Then they noticed the field was littered with musical instruments and sheets of music. The explanation was heartbreaking: 42 grade 7 and 8

students from Oak Hill Middle School in Newton, Mass., had been bound for a music festival near Halifax when the bus went out of control, hurtled off the road and rolled repeatedly, leaving four of the children dead.

The RCMP began an immediate investigation. But locals say it was only a matter of time before somebody died on the interchange, where there have been seven reported accidents since 1991. There were no fatalities until last week, when the sheets of music the children were to play fluttered like ghosts in the breeze.

John DeMont