THE driver of a school bus which smashed into a low bridge – ripping its roof off and injuring children – has been disqualified for a year.
Wayne Oliver, 38, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention after the TM Travel double decker hit the railway bridge on Whittington Road, Barrow Hill, on March 15.
Chesterfield magistrates heard Oliver, who had only driven that 144 route with a single decker previously, claimed he had been told that was the right way by other depot staff.
But staff denied to police that he had asked about the route before setting off.
The court also heard there was a 13.3ft height sign on the bridge and a notice in the bus, which said in “bold underlined capitals ‘double decker bus must not operate between Barrow Hill and New Whittington due to bridge’”
No contributing vehicle defects were found on the 4.4 metre bus. Prosecutor Bill Taylor said rumours that Oliver, of Dinnington, was speeding were completely unfounded.
Oliver, who was fined £80, ordered to pay £35 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, sent a letter to the court saying he was sorry and deeply regretted the incident.
Deputy district judge Dave Goodman said: “I have to deal with the matter of carelessness, not consequences,
“If I was dealing with the matter of consequences you would probably go to prison.”
By Ellen Beardmore
•See next week’s Derbyshire Times for the full court story and reactions.