Richard Edward Benson Charged: Child Pinned, Others Seriously Injured After Van Crashes Into Racette School In St. Paul (UPDATE)

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RACETTE SCHOOL ST PAUL
Police escort a man after a minivan crashed into a school in St.Paul, Alta., Thursday, Oct.25, 2012. Police say a child was pinned under the minivan after it went through the wall of Racette Junior High School in St. Paul, east of Edmonton.THE CANADIAN PRESS/St.Paul Journal-Ryan McCracken | THE CANADIAN PRESS/St.Paul Journal-Ryan McCracken

UPDATE: CP reports that three Grade 6 students who were injured in the crash remain in hospital, two of them in stable, but critical, condition after they were taken by air ambulance. Five other children were also injured, three of whom have been released from hospital. The school remains closed Friday.

A student was pinned and suffered serious injuries after a van crashed through a wall and into Racette School in St. Paul, Alberta, Thursday morning.

The crash occurred around 9:30 a.m. when, "the driver of a mini van went off the road and drove into the side of Racette School," said RCMP spokesperson Doris Stapleton.

"The vehicle went through the walls of a classroom. Police can confirm that one child was pinned beneath the vehicle and has sustained serious injury. Police and EMS on scene."

Stapleton said the student was airlifted to hospital in Edmonton by STARS air ambulance.

"Two other students who were injured in the incident are being treated in a St. Paul hospital," she said.

Mother Michelle de Moissac's told the Edmonton Journal that her daughter, Kayla Albert, sent a text to Moissac following the crash while students were being evacuated.

“They weren’t in that classroom but they heard the screams and felt the building shake when it happened,” de Moissac said.

“It was basically chaos in there.”

A teacher told Moissac the van almost hit a pedestrian before it turned down an alley, crashing though a chain-link fence and smashing through the wall of the school.

The van fell into the classroom, as the classroom was on the lower level of the school and the bottom of the window approximately one meter from the classroom floor, reported the St. Paul Journal.

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Several other children were also hurt in the impact, many of them were taken to hospital, reports the CBC.

"RCMP have taken the driver of the vehicle that drove into the school in St. Paul earlier today into custody," said Stapleton, but did not elaborate on the nature of the arrest.

"RCMP Collision Crash Team, which is a specialized unit trained to investigate serious motor vehicle accidents, is on scene."

An investigation is underway to determine what caused the 46-year-old- male driver, who is a resident of St. Paul, to go off the road and crash through the wall of a classroom, a release by the RCMP said. The driver received minor injuries in the crash.

CP reports the driver was combative while being taken into custody.

UPDATE: Oct. 26 - 1:28 p.m. -- RCMP reports that Richard Edward Benson, 46, has been taken into custody and faces several charges, including three counts of dangerous driving, one count of resisting arrest and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

UPDATE: Oct. 26. - 11:30 a.m. -- CP reports that three Grade 6 students who were injured in the crash remain in hospital, two of them in stable, but critical, condition after they were taken by air ambulance. Five other children were also injured, three of whom have been released from hospital. The school remains closed Friday.

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