‘Loveli­est’ bus driver trag­i­cally killed in crash

Trib­utes for much-loved 50-year-old man as three se­ri­ously in­jured pas­sen­gers re­main in hospi­tal

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CHRIS MACLENNAN

A BUS driver killed in a crash on the Black Isle was known as “Smiler” be­cause of his warm na­ture.

Mo­hamed Chache, 50, died af­ter his bus over­turned af­ter col­lid­ing with a bridge near Mun­lochy on Fri­day night.

Nine pas­sen­gers were on­board and taken to hospi­tal, where three re­main in a se­ri­ous but stable con­di­tion.

Over the week­end, trib­utes have flooded in for the 50-year-old, who lived in In­ver­ness with his wife

San­dra.

Flow­ers have also been left out­side the city’s bus sta­tion, as well as at the scene of the crash at Lit­tlemill Bridge.

Mrs Chache said yes­ter­day: “I very much ap­pre­ci­ate the many trib­utes for Mo and the nu­mer­ous mes­sages of sup­port.”

Col­league Ryan Pre­shaw wrote on­line: “Loved work­ing with you. Al­ways had a smile on your face.”

An­other, Jan­ice Robert­son, de­scribed Mr Chache as one of the “loveli­est, cheeri­est, chat­ti­est, help­ful driv­ers” at Stage­coach.

And Kim­ber­ley Christina posted: “Such a lovely man. May you rest in peace, Mo (Smiler).”

A spokesman for Stage­coach de­scribed Mr Chache, who was orig­i­nally from Zanz­ibar, as a loyal and pop­u­lar mem­ber of staff who would be missed.

Mean­while, a crowd­fun­der has been set up to raise £2,000 to­wards the cost of his fu­neral costs.

Abus driver killed in a crash has been de­scribed as a pop­u­lar man with such a warm na­ture he was known as “Smiler”.

Mo­hamed Chache, 50, died af­ter his bus over­turned af­ter col­lid­ing with a bridge near Mun­lochy, on the Black Isle.

Nine pas­sen­gers were trav­el­ling from In­ver­ness to Cro­marty when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened at about 5.40pm on Fri­day on the B9161, at Lit­tlemill Bridge.

Three re­main at Raig­more Hospi­tal in a se­ri­ous, but stable con­di­tion. The oth­ers suf­fered mi­nor in­juries.

An­other bus driver spot­ted the ac­ci­dent, and raced to help un­til emer­gency ser­vices ar­rived at the scene.

Over the week­end, trib­utes poured in for Mr Chache, who was orig­i­nally from Zanz­ibar. Flow­ers were also left at the bus sta­tion in In­ver­ness, and at the scene of the crash. His wife, San­dra, from In­ver­ness, said yes­ter­day: “I very much ap­pre­ci­ate the many trib­utes for Mo and the nu­mer­ous mes­sages of sup­port. I am sure peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate that this is a very dif­fi­cult time for me and for his fam­ily in Zanz­ibar.”

Stage­coach North Scot­land de­scribed Mr Chache as a “pop­u­lar, loyal em­ployee” who would be missed.

A spokesman said: “The thoughts of ev­ery­one at Stage­coach are with the fam­ily and friends of our driver, as well as the pas­sen­gers who were in­jured in the ac­ci­dent.

“Our driver was a pop­u­lar mem­ber of staff at our In­ver­ness de­pot and had been with the com­pany for around 12 years. We are pro­vid­ing sup­port to his fam­ily and work col­leagues and we are con­tin­u­ing to help the po­lice with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cause of the ac­ci­dent.”

Writ­ing on­line, col­league Ryan Pre­shaw said: “RIP mate. Loved work­ing with you. Al­ways had a smile on your face. Big miss.”

An­other, Johnny Smith, said: “Tragic news, no­body should go to work and not make it back home. My thoughts go out to the fam­ily of the driver and those in­jured in this hor­rific ac­ci­dent.”

An­other for­mer col­league, Pa­tri­cia Maclean, has set up a fundrais­ing page to help the fam­ily cover the costs of his fu­neral.

The JustGiv­ing page aims to raise £2,000, and do­na­tions flooded in within hours of be­ing set up.

In an on­line post, Kim­ber­ley Christina said: “So sad to hear that the driver passed away. I saw him yes­ter­day af­ter­noon wav­ing and smiled. Such a lovely man. May you rest in peace Mo (Smiler). Con­do­lences to his fam­ily and Stage­coach col­leagues .”

Paul Innes wrote: “A lovely per­son at heart. My sym­pa­thies to his fam­ily. Al­ways smil­ing.”

Po­lice have ap­pealed for any­one with any in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to the in­ci­dent to come for­ward, and are keen to see any dash-cam footage recorded.

Sergeant Alan Hen­der­son, of the road polic­ing unit, said: “Our thoughts at this time are with those in­volved and their fam­i­lies. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the col­li­sion is un­der way and we have al­ready spo­ken to a num­ber of wit­nesses.

“In or­der to help es­tab­lish the cause of the col­li­sion, I would urge any­one who saw the ve­hi­cle prior to the col­li­sion who has not al­ready come for­ward, to do so.

“Like­wise, if any mo­torists be­lieve they may have dash-cam footage which could as­sist our in­quiries, I ap­peal for them to come for­ward.”

TRAGEDY: Trib­utes have been left at the scene to bus driver Mo­hamed Chachi, af­fec­tion­ately called ‘Smiler’, who died when his ve­hi­cle hit a bridge on the Black Isle

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