Mother of toddler swept away in Grand River charged with impaired driving causing death


The mother of a three-year-old boy who was swept away in the Grand River during flooding in February has been charged with impaired driving causing death by Ontario Provincial Police.


Michelle Hanson, 35, who lives in the Township of Amaranth, was in a minivan with her son, Kaden Young, on Feb. 21 when she went around a road closure sign, police said. 

Water was over the road, about one kilometre from their home, and the minivan wound up in the Grand River around 1 a.m.

As they exited the vehicle, Young lost her grip on her son and he was swept away in the river, police said. 

His body was recovered April 21.

Hanson is facing charges of impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. She’s due to appear in an Orangeville courtroom on Nov. 6.

“The OPP sympathizes with and expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family of Kaden Young on his tragic loss,” Dufferin OPP said in a release.

“We also remember and recognize the many community residents and visitors who gave of their time to search for Kaden during the aftermath of this tragic incident.”

Kaden Young’s mom Michelle Hanson, bottom left, surrounded by friends and family at a vigil for the boy. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Hundreds searched for Kaden

In the two months the boy was missing, hundreds of people searched for him along the banks of the Grand River.

Richard Croft, a local tow truck driver who heard the call to emergency services the night the boy went missing, organized grid searches to cover as much ground as possible.

In March, he said people came from across the province to volunteer, including over the Easter weekend.

“We’re not just a community now, we’re family,” he said of the volunteers. “[Kaden’s] just an amazing little boy. We’ve got to bring him home.”

Township of Amaranth Mayor Don MacIver said at the time the support from the community to find Kaden was incredible.