Cambridgeshire

March bypass coach crash: Car driver Shahid Malik sentenced

Overturned coach Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Five people were treated at Peterborough City Hospital after the coach swerved off the road into a ditch

A motorist has been given a suspended jail sentence for forced a coach carrying 65 passengers off the road and into a ditch.

Twenty-three people were treated for injuries after the crash on the A141 near March in Cambridgeshire last year.

Shahid Malik, 36, from Elmfield Road, Peterborough, admitted dangerous driving at Cambridge Crown Court.

He has been given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and banned from driving for a year.

Image caption Coach driver Abdul Haq told the BBC he was forced to swerve off the road to avoid a head-on collision

The accident happened on 30 October at about 06:15 GMT on the road between March and Wimblington.

Police said 22 people had minor wounds, while one woman had serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.

At the time of the accident, the coach driver Abdul Haq told the BBC he was forced to swerve off the road to avoid a head-on collision with a vehicle overtaking in the opposite direction.

Mr Haq said: "There was no other way. Some idiot comes in front of you, what can you do?"

Malik was also sentenced to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work, ordered to re-sit his driving test and pay an £80 victim surcharge.

PC Sean Redman, who investigated the crash, said: "This incident affected a lot of people and could quite easily have resulted in much more damage and devastation."

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