She was Chelsea Lynn Mist James of Langley, an educational assistant at Simon Cunningham Elementary in Surrey.
Colleague Roberta Jansen, a kindergarten teacher, says James was loved by both students and staff.
“She was just such a beacon of light. Honestly, you’d come in in the mornings and she always had this incredible smile on her face, and was always laughing about something.”
She says a memo went out yesterday to staff and students to let them know what happened, and that James’ loss is being heavily felt.
“I think it resonates more with the older children who understand, but the staff is quite devastated. Our school has a tight knit community, so to lose her like this, in such a tragic way… on Friday she had told us how excited she was to be going out and celebrating the birthday of her friend. It’s really hard to come in and not see her there at the school in the morning.”
Jansen says James’ colleagues are left with questions about how the incident happened.
“We’ve talked a couple of times – trying to figure out how does somebody fall, that if in motion the door should have been shut? We just don’t understand.”
Police say the 23-year-old fell out of an open door and into the street as the bus moved from Burrard to West Hastings. She was then run over by the same vehicle.
Police say there were approximately 24 people in the vehicle at the time.
The coroner and police investigation continues.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the school James worked at.