Chatham-Kent OPP said Father Henry Carr basketball coach Paul Melnik was taking 12 players to the provincial basketball championship in Windsor, Ont., when they caught him speeding down Highway 401.
The incident happened Sunday morning in Chatham-Kent, just east of Windsor.
The 12 students in the back of the Chevrolet passenger van was the most alarming issue, according to OPP Const. Aaron McPhail.
"The higher the speed, the higher the risk. With a van full of students, this could have had tragic consequences," said McPhail.
He added Melnik didn’t have the proper licence to transport students in a vehicle of that size.
McPhail said Melnik needed a Class F licence to drive a van of that size. Melnik had a Class G licence, according to McPhail.
Melnik received tickets for speeding and driving without the proper licence.
"The OPP should be credited with saving the lives of those 12 students," said Brian Patterson, the president of the Ontario Safety League. "Here's a teacher who has to take physics 101: mass at that speed equals disaster if it hits anything"
Ontario's stunt driving fines don't kick in until someone is caught driving more than 50 km/h over the speed limit.
The Highway Traffic Act states that a Class F licence is required to operate a, “motor vehicle designed for carrying ten or more passengers and used for the transportation of persons.”
Vans not used by all boards
Transport Canada cannot restrict a school or school board's vehicle use. However, some school boards do not allow the use of large passenger vans for school functions.
John W. Yan, the senior coordinator of communications Toronto Catholic District School Board, told CBC News the van was rented and not owned by the school or board.
He also said the school board has "no specific policy" regulating the size of passenger vans used by schools.
"The safety and wellbeing of our students is always our top priority. We are conducting our own investigation and will deal with this issue appropriately. This includes reviewing our policies and protocols with respect to the transportation of students to and from tournaments," Yan wrote in an email to CBC News.
Yan said Melnik has been instructed to not drive students to any further games.
Officials at Father Henry Carr Secondary School were not immediately available for comment.
The Greater Essex District School Board, which governs public schools in Windsor and Essex County, stopped using large passenger vans years ago, spokesperson Scott Scantlebury said.
"There was never an incident but it was in reaction to investigations and inquests into other crashes around the country," Scantlebury said.
Five years ago, seven members of the Bathurst High School basketball team in New Brunswick died when the 15-passenger van they were in collided with a transport truck.
That crash led to a call for an outright ban on the use of 15-passenger vans in schools across Canada.
New Brunswick banned the school use of 15-passenger vans after that crash.Suggest a correction