Driver charged after nine people, including three-year-old, struck by car in Montreal North

A 38-year-old man appeared in court Thursday afternoon to face charges after nine people were struck by a car in Montreal North Wednesday.

Marco Bernier is facing several charges including dangerous driving causing injury and leaving the scene of an accident.

Bernier will undergo a psychological assessment to see if he’s mentally fit to face charges and will return to court on Friday.

Montreal police say the incident began when a car struck a first pedestrian at 12:45 p.m. at the corner of Langelier Blvd. and De Dijon St.

The driver fled the scene, said Montreal police spokesperson Manuel Couture.

He then ended his run on a sidewalk, striking eight more people – six adults and two children – at the nearby corner of Valade Ave. and De Dijon.

One of the children is three years old, said Couture. 

Couture said all of the victims were transported to hospital and are expected to survive their injuries. At 9 p.m., police said they were all out of danger.

SUSPECT APPEARED CONFUSED: POLICE

The driver was arrested and investigators met with him, said Couture. He was also taken for a medical evaluation, police later said.

"He was not speeding and he was not going so fast, but at one moment he just got on the sidewalk," said Couture.

"What the investigators want to know so far is if the suspect was in crisis while he was driving the car, if he was in contact with reality and if he knew what he was doing. Was he targeting people or was he just confused behind his wheel?"

"I don't have anything saying to me he was intoxicated, not by alcohol nor by drugs," said Couture of the investigation so far.

Several hours later, at 9 p.m., another spokesperson from Montreal police confirmed that that hadn't changed. "At this point there's no signs of drug or alcohol," said Jean-Pierre Brabant.

"The investigation is just beginning," Couture said, adding that police are speaking with witnesses, the suspects and are looking for any possible footage from the incident.

Couture said the suspect looked confused when he was arrested.

"We have to talk to the family of the suspect to know how he was doing in the last few days," he added.

Investigators are also looking into the car to determine is there were any mechanical issues that could have played a role.

STUDENTS WITNESSED THE CRASH

Some students at a nearby high school reportedly watched the incident unfold, and their principal wrote an email to parents advising them that counsellors and trauma experts were available.

"Today, during the lunch hour a car accident occurred near our school," wrote Tony Pita, the principal of Lester B. Pearson High School, which is a block away from the corner in question.

"Some of our students may have witnessed the event where several individuals were hurt," he said.

"None of our students were directly involved in the accident."

If any students needed help processing what they saw, he wrote, staff were on site to help.

Some students posted videos to social media immediately after the incident, making it clear that teenagers did witness it.

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