ALBERTA

Richard Edward Benson Denied Bail In St. Paul School Crash Charges

11/01/2012 05:22 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
THE CANADIAN PRESS/St.Paul Journal-Ryan McCracken
ST. PAUL, Alta. - A judge has denied bail to a man accused of crashing his minivan into an Alberta school, killing an 11-year-old girl.

Defence lawyer Brian Beresh told reporters after the ruling Thursday that his client is disappointed and there will be an immediate appeal.

"We think the judge committed a number of errors," he said. "Sometimes local judges emphasize a local concern which we don't think exists and shouldn't come into play."

Richard Edward Benson, 46, faces charges of criminal negligence causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.

His family has said he has a history of seizures and believes he was having an attack when he was behind the wheel last Thursday.

The van smashed through a window of Racette Junior High School in St. Paul and dove straight into a Grade 6 classroom.

Three girls were pinned under the van and airlifted to hospital but one of them, Megan Wolitski, died the next day. A memorial has been set for Friday and a funeral is to take place Saturday.

Provincial court Judge Kathleen Williams spent nearly an hour explaining her reasons for denying Benson bail but details of the hearing are covered under a publication ban.

Some of Benson's family members cried in court and one teenage girl said 'I love you Dad' as he was led away by officers.

Benson is next set to appear in court Dec. 13.

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