Driver is guilty of death smash

Dal­beat­tie man con­victed over fans’ bus crash

The Galloway News - - HIGH COURT CASE - Wilma Riley

A bus driver has been con­victed of killing a Rangers fan in a hor­ror crash.

Dad-of-two Cal­lum Phillips, 49, from Dal­beat­tie, was driv­ing at up to 73mph shortly be­fore the smash which claimed the life of 39-year-old Ryan Baird, from San­quhar.

The bus, which had 37 pas­sen­gers on board from the Nith Val­ley Rangers Sup­port­ers’ Club, was “like a roller­coaster” as it reached a roundabout on the A76 near Kil­marnock on Oc­to­ber 1, 2016.

It smashed into a lamp post then skid­ded along on its side be­fore com­ing to a halt.

Pas­sen­ger Heather Ged­des, 25, who was on the trip as a birth­day treat, de­scribed Phillips as “fly­ing down the road with his foot to the floor”.

Mr Baird died in the crash and sev­eral other pas­sen­gers were in­jured.

As the ver­dict of guilty to caus­ing Mr Baird’s death of Mr Baird by dan­ger­ous driv­ing was read out at the High Court in Glas­gow, Phillips showed no emo­tion. Judge Lady Stacey or­dered re­ports and con­tin­ued bail, but told Phillips: “Don’t get your hopes up.”

She de­ferred sen­tence un­til next month and handed Phillips an in­terim driv­ing ban.

Phillips claimed the brakes on the Iveco bus were not work­ing, but ex­perts found no de­fects.

Phillips told po­lice : “I reckon I was do­ing 50 at that roundabout. I pressed the brakes and it didn’t work. It was not slow­ing me down like it should have.”

He also dis­puted tacho­graph ev­i­dence which showed he drove for con­sid­er­able pe­ri­ods of the hour-long drive from Thorn­hill at 63mph and at one point at 73mph. The speed limit for buses on the A76 is 50mph.

Phillips, right, said he never once looked at his speedo dur­ing the trip and claimed “ev­ery­one drives at 10mph above the limit”.

Nur s e ry nur s e Caitlin Hamil­ton, 23, from San­quhar, who was be­hind the bus, said: “I re­mem­ber say­ing to my mum ‘That bus is go­ing far too fast. I can­nae catch up.’ I was do­ing 60 to 63 mph.”

Vic­tim Ryan Baird, from San­quhar

Scene The af­ter­math of the crash near Kil­marnock

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