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'Lost for words': Community devastated after 6-year-old boy killed in school bus collision north of Toronto

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The six-year-old boy who died after being struck by the driver of a school bus in Vaughan on Wednesday was named Matteo, say devastated friends and neighbours.

He was a Grade 1 student at St. Stephen’s Catholic Elementary School in Woodbridge, according to parents in the community.

The fatal collision happened at around 8 a.m. near Pierre Berton Boulevard and Kleinburg Summit Way, which is west of Kipling Avenue and north of Teston Road.

A resident in the neighbourhood who said he witnessed the incident told CP24 that the boy was running to catch the bus when he was hit.

“The bus driver didn’t see him,” the man said.

He said there were several kids already on the bus at the time of the collision.

“They were screaming,” he said.

One parent told CP24’s Beatrice Vaisman that Matteo’s school was supposed to hold its kindergarten graduation ceremony today, but that was cancelled due to the tragedy.

Another mother, who lives just steps away from the crash, said her kids were on another bus travelling southbound when the collision occurred and witnessed it.

Preye Obozuwa said that she heard about the fatal collision less than 15 minutes later on the news.

“When I heard the timing of the accident, I knew that their bus would have somehow seen it,” she said, adding that Matteo went to school with her children and played soccer with her older son.

“It’s just heart-gutting. I can only imagine what the family is going through,” Obozuwa said moments after they dropped off flowers at a growing makeshift memorial near where the boy was struck and killed.

She said her kids and others on the bus are receiving support and added that she hopes the community can come together down the line and think about ways to make it safer for vulnerable road users.

“Right now, everyone is just lost for words. My heart goes out to the family,” Obozuwa said.

“At the end of the school year, everyone is getting ready for summer. This is just a tough one. … It’s unexplainable, to be honest. It’s really unexplainable.”

Preye Obozuwa and her children lay flowers at a makeshift memorial for a six-year-old boy who died after being struck by the driver of a school bus in Vaughan on June 19.

A fundraising page created by ReMax Premier Inc. to support Matteo’s family said he will “always be remembered as a happy little boy who lit up the lives of everyone who was lucky enough to have known him.”

“He was a cherished son, brother, grandson and nephew. He loved country music and loved playing the drums. He adored his little brother Luca very much,” the post read.

The Go Fund Me said that Matteo’s grandmother, Luisa, works at the Vaughan-based brokerage as a front-desk receptionist.

“Thank you for your support, thoughts and prayers. Together we can help this family through this unimaginable loss,” it read.

“Luisa, we are thinking of you and your family during this heartbreaking time.”

In a post on social media, Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca extended his condolences to the family of the young boy who was killed.

“The City of Vaughan is in mourning following the tragic death of a young boy who was struck by a vehicle in Kleinburg,” he wrote.

“There are no words that can adequately express our sympathy & condolences to the family, friends & classmates of this child as they grieve this unthinkable loss.”

Police investigation underway

The circumstances surrounding this fatal incident are still under investigation, but police told reporters that the bus driver remained at the scene.

“They are being very cooperative and are being assessed by EMS for the horrible, horrible scenario that they have been involved in,” Const. James Dickson, of York Regional Police (YRP) told reporters on Wednesday morning.

“We are still looking into all of the events that led to this terrible outcome.”

Dickson could not say how many children were on the bus at the time of the collision, but confirmed that the bus was in the area picking up kids to take to school.

He said he could not comment on whether speed contributed to the collision, but noted that investigators are looking at all possible factors.

“Something like this takes a lot of time to piece together,” Dickson added.

“We are going to be here for a long time.”

Dickson said he has not spoken to the family but described the situation as “a tragedy that ruins everything for everyone.”

“Obviously something like this is absolutely horrible,” he said.

“I haven’t interacted with the family but I can’t imagine what they are going through.”

Dickson said that victim services and peer support are available for officers, parents, teachers, and children affected by the incident.

A child was struck and killed by a bus in Vaughan on Wednesday morning, York Regional Police say. (Courtney Heels/ CP24)

Area residents are asked to contact YRP or Crime Stoppers anonymously if they have security or dash camera footage of the area at the time of the collision.

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