Firm ad­mits guilt over bus crash that killed town woman

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

A BUS op­er­a­tor has ex­pressed its sor­row over a fa­tal crash af­ter fail­ing to pre­vent risks of “driver er­ror” linked to fa­tigue and ex­ces­sive work­ing hours. MID­LAND Red (South) Ltd pleaded guilty to two charges brought un­der Health and Safety law af­ter an in­quiry into the 2015 deaths of a pas­sen­ger and a pedes­trian in Coven­try city cen­tre.

The firm’s so­lic­i­tor en­tered guilty pleas to both charges at Coven­try Mag­is­trates’ Court af­ter 79-yearold bus driver Kailash Chan­der ap­peared be­fore JPs charged with caus­ing death by danger­ous driv­ing.

The firm, which was com­mit­ted for sen­tence at War­wick Crown Court, ad­mit­ted a charge of fail­ing to en­sure the safety of em­ploy­ees be­tween April 2015 and the day of the fa­tal crash six months later.

The sec­ond charge ad­mit­ted by the com­pany stated that it failed to en­sure mem­bers of the pub­lic were not ex­posed to risks aris­ing out of the driv­ing of pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cles by Chan­der.

Cov­er­ing the same dates at the first charge, the sec­ond ad­mit­ted count stated that the firm failed to pre­vent or con­trol risks of driver er­ror “due to lack of ca­pa­bil­ity and/or fa­tigue and/or work­ing hours, which were ex­ces­sive in the cir­cum­stances.”

Bus pas­sen­ger Rowan Fitzger­ald, aged seven, from Leam­ing­ton and 76-year-old pedes­trian Dora Han­cox, from Nuneaton, were both pro­nounced dead at the scene of the crash in Trin­ity Street.

The man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Mid­land Red, Steve Burd, and its op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor, Jim Mor­ti­more, at­tended court on be­half of the com­pany, which is based at of­fices in Daw Bank, Stock­port.

The firm’s so­lic­i­tor, An­drew Daw­son, ex­pressed “pro­found con­do­lences, re­gret and sor­row” over the crash, which saw a dou­ble-decker bus hit the side of a su­per­mar­ket.

The facts of the safety ALL MEAL breaches were not opened by pros­e­cu­tor Michael Gre­gory, who told District Judge Les­ley Mot­tram: “The pros­e­cu­tion sub­mis­sion is that this mat­ter is so se­ri­ous that you should use your pow­ers to com­mit it to the Crown Court for sen­tenc­ing.”

The firm was or­dered to ap­pear at the higher court on Oc­to­ber 6.

Chan­der, from Leam­ing­ton, has yet to en­ter a plea and is due back in court on the same date.

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