STL driver in death of daycare children is being mentally evaluated

Pierre Ny St-Amand is detained at the Philippe Pinel Institute in Montreal

Pierre Ny St-Amand, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and six counts of assault in the deadly crash of a Société de transport de Laval bus into a daycare in Sainte-Rose, is in the custody of criminal insanity experts to determine if he is fit to stand trial.

The 51-year-old Laval resident made a short appearance before Quebec Court Judge Carol Richer last Friday at the Palais de Justice de Laval. His defence lawyer asked the judge to order the psychiatric evaluation following several conversations he had with St-Amand, raising questions about his sanity.

Fitness questioned

According to the defence lawyer, two criminologists who met with St-Amand also expressed doubts as to whether he is fit to stand trial and is capable of following a court proceeding while assisting his lawyer.

During an initial video arraignment hearing held the same day as the crash on Feb. 8 when he was arrested, St-Amand was charged from his hospital bed, but refused to answer any questions. He is currently being detained at the Philippe Pinel Institute on Henri Bourassa Blvd. East in Montreal.

Two children killed

Two children, Maëva David and Jacob Gauthier, who were enrolled at the daycare on Terrasse Dufferin in Sainte-Rose, were killed in the crash, while another six children were injured, when St-Amand allegedly drove deliberately into the Garderie Éducative Ste-Rose, demolishing a corner of the building.

Four-year-old Jacob Gauthier, whose funeral was held last Friday at Ste-Rose-de-Lima church in Sainte-Rose, was identified as one of the deceased victims. The second child was identified as five-year-old Maëva David, whose parents are Jessica Therrien and Nicolas David.

Parents in mourning

According to a funeral home notice posted online, Jacob Gauthier was four and a half years old and is survived by his mother, father, sister as well as grandparents and other extended family. The parents of Maëva David released an open letter, which was published in several Montreal-area media, expressing their feelings about the tragedy.

Quebec Premier François Legault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were both in Sainte-Rose last week to pay their respects at impromptu memorials which have been erected by many parents and others outside the church, as well as next to the site of the incident, in sympathy and solidarity with the families of the victims.

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Martin C. Barry
LJI Reporter. A journalist with the Laval News since 2005. During his 27 years covering political and community issues in the Montreal region, Marty has won numerous journalism awards from the Quebec Community Newspapers Association for written coverage as well as for photography.