Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Bus company fined after fatal crash.
A bus company has been fined £2.3m after ignoring warnings about an erratic driver who crashed into a supermarket, killing two people.
Midland Red (South) Ltd admitted health and safety breaches after Kailash Chander, then aged 77, smashed into a Sainsbury's in Coventry in 2015. Mr Chander had been driving dangerously when he mistook the accelerator for the brake, a fact-finding trial concluded.
The former mayor, now 80, was deemed unfit to stand trial due to dementia. Midland Red (South) Ltd was sentenced alongside Mr Chander, who received a two-year medical supervision order, after a two-day hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.
Mr Chander had been warned about his erratic driving by the company after four crashes in three years, the trial of facts found. The bus company, part of Stagecoach group, admitted allowing Mr Chander to work more than 70-hours a week and allowing him to continue working despite warnings about his driving.
Judge Paul Farrer said the failings of the company were a significant cause of the crash. He said that warnings about Mr Chander were "not enforced, and almost immediately ignored."
Managing director of Midland Red (South) Ltd, Phil Medlicott, said the company was deeply sorry and "bears the weight of our responsibility for this tragedy.” He added: "We deeply regret the opportunities that were missed to act decisively on emerging warning signs."
One passenger, Rowan Fitzgerald, seven, was riding on the top deck and died of a head injury when the bus crashed on Trinity Street on October 3 2015.
Pedestrian Dora Hancox, 76, died after being struck by the bus and a falling lamppost.
Mr Chander’s barrister, Robert Smith, told the court the former Leamington Spa mayor was traumatised by the crash and now required full-time care. An expert told the court he may have been suffering from undiagnosed dementia at the time of the crash. Mr Medlicott added that the company had made several key changes, including stronger controls on working hours and more medical testing for drivers. He said: "We cannot turn back the clock in this case, but we have done everything possible to learn lessons."