Maddie Guitard Dies 4 Years After Van Crashed Into St. Paul School

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ST PAUL SCHOOL CRASH
A memorial is shown outside Racette Junior High in October 2012, shortly after a van crashed into the school. | CP
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ST. PAUL, Alta. — A girl who was injured four years ago when a minivan plowed into a rural Alberta school, killing one student, has died.

An obituary says 15-year-old Maddie Guitard died Wednesday surrounded by family at her home in St. Paul, east of Edmonton.

A memorial service is planned for Monday.

The van crashed through a large window and brick wall into a lower-level Grade 6 classroom at Racette Junior High School in October 2012. The van sent students and desks flying as it spun around and pinned three girls underneath it.

Megan Wolitski, 11, died in hospital the next day.

megan wolitski funeral
Mourners carry pink balloons at a funeral service for Megan Wolitski in November 2012. (Photo: Jason Franson/CP)

Angelina Luce received a brain injury and had to learn to walk and feed herself again, but eventually returned to school.

Maddie also suffered a severe brain injury and was left in a vegetative state.

"Nobody in our community has forgotten this,'' St. Paul Mayor Glenn Andersen said Friday.

He said Maddie spent some time in a care facility but returned home to live with her parents.

"Their whole lives were changed dramatically,'' Andersen said. "I think everybody has been with the Guitards over this past four years and I think everybody feels their pain.''

"Nobody in our community has forgotten this."

Court heard that the driver, 46-year-old Richard Benson, had had a seizure during the crash and shouldn't have been driving.

He had been having seizures for about a decade, but rarely took his prescribed medication to prevent the attacks. He also lied on driver's licence applications when he said he had no medical condition that would affect his ability to control a vehicle.

Benson pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

He was sentenced to just under a year in jail and banned from driving for life.

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