BUS CRASH UPDATE: Driver was feeling unwell before shift

A bus driver involved in a “major” Sussex collision, had been feeling unwell before the incident.

Tuesday, 7th July 2015, 5:26 pm
Brighton bus crash. Picture by Eddie Mitchell SUS-150707-171912001

The Brighton and Hove Bus Company, which is investigating a two-bus collision in Brighton yesterday (July 6), said its investigation is focusing on the driver’s health before the crash.

Five people were seriously injured as a result of the incident, and Sussex Police declared it a “major incident.”

Martin Harris, managing director at the bus company said, “I can confirm that the focus of our investigation is now primarily on the health of our driver at the time of the accident.

Bus crash in Brighton. Picture by Eddie Mitchell SUS-150607-111912001

“We have gathered statements from drivers and supervisors who were in contact with our driver before he commenced driving yesterday, viewed CCTV footage, and reviewed information about his general health and condition following yesterday’s accident. We have investigated the allegations made by some people regarding our response to our driver’s health on the morning of the incident. The allegations that he was pressured by the company to work after earlier feeling unwell are unfounded.

“I will naturally keep personal health details confidential. Our driver did report to a supervisor that he did feel unwell at the time he was due to commence his shift. Our supervisor correctly advised him not to commence his duty and to advise whether he felt able to drive or not later.

“Our driver subsequently, and of his own volition, reported back to a second supervisor, advising that he then felt fine to drive and would commence work. He then commenced his service approximately one hour later than scheduled as a result of being able to take this break. He then appears to have become ill again about an hour and a half into his driving.

“We have been advised subsequently that investigation into the cause of our driver feeling unwell at this point indicates a condition of which he had no previous history. We are seeking confirmation of this point.”

He added, “The company has conducted a thorough investigation using CCTV, telematics data, eye witness statements and the statements of our own staff involved yesterday. VOSA and Sussex Police have conducted a thorough investigation of the vehicles involved in the collision during the course of today. It has been indicated that they have found no issues with the operation of the service 5 bus that collided with the bus in front in North Street.

“These investigations are ongoing so it would be premature of me to draw any conclusions and I cannot prejudge the final outcome of the investigations by either the Police or VOSA.

“We are continuing to follow the progress of our driver and of the passengers injured in the incident.”

Just before 9.22am yesterday, two Brighton and Hove buses collided in North Street, Brighton.

Sussex Police declared a major incident, and fire engines, paramedics, and the air ambulance was called to the scene.

Police said two people have suffered “life-threatening injuries” and three have been seriously injured.

There were also several people “walking wounded”, following the crash.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service said it treated 23 patients in total, and there were seven ambulances and four response cars at the scene, alongside its Hazardous Area Response Team, and the Kent, Surrey and Sussex air ambulance.

Seven patients were taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, including two with very serious injuries.

A further six patients were taken to Princess Royal in Haywards Heath.