NEWS

Irvine Fraser, Winnipeg Bus Driver, Dies After Overnight Stabbing

02/14/2017 01:41 EST | Updated 02/14/2017 01:41 EST

Winnipeg police say a 58-year-old transit bus driver died after he was stabbed by a passenger early Tuesday morning.

Chief Danny Smyth says the driver — Irvine Fraser — was attacked when he was stopped at the end of his route at the University of Manitoba.

Smyth says first responders found Fraser with serious stab wounds around 2 a.m. and took him to hospital where he died.

"Police responded to the scene within moments of the attack,'' Smyth said Tuesday. "Witnesses were able to direct police to the Red River."

Suspect was trying to cross the river

The canine unit found a 22-year-old suspect on the frozen Red River near campus where he was arrested.

"The suspect was trying to cross the river,'' Smyth said. "A canine unit member was able to apprehend the suspect before he crossed the river.''

A canine officer went onto the ice to continue the investigation and fell through, he said.

The officer was rescued and is uninjured.

winnipeg bus Commuters hop into a Winnipeg transit bus in Winnipeg Wednesday May 25, 2011. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

"This is a rare occurrence,'' Smyth said. "It is a shocking story any time a public servant is killed while working.

"We don't think things like this are going to happen.''

A federal law was passed in February 2015 to allow more severe penalties for attacks on bus drivers. Bregg's Law was named after Edmonton transit driver Tom Bregg, who was beaten so severely that he suffered brain injuries and lost the sight in one eye.

Bregg was driving his route during the rush hour one morning in December 2009 when he was hit several times by a drunken man, who did not want to pay the $2.50 fare. The attacker dragged the driver off the bus and stomped on his face more than a dozen times when he became wedged between the bus and the curb.

Bregg was in hospital for more than eight weeks.

Gary Mattson pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was declared a dangerous offender.