Driver is guilty of death smash
Dalbeattie man convicted over fans’ bus crash
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