Tees

Darlington bus crash death: Driver 'pressed accelerator instead of brake'

Eileen Brennan Image copyright Durham Police
Image caption Eileen Brennan was struck when the bus veered off the road

A bus driver hit the accelerator instead of his brake when his single-decker knocked down and killed a shopper, a court has heard.

Michael Gilbert was letting people off at a bus stop in Darlington when the vehicle went across a carriageway killing pedestrian Eileen Brennan, 85.

Mr Gilbert, 53, of Middleton St George, County Durham, denies causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

Teesside Crown Court heard that another pedestrian had her leg badly crushed.

On the first day of Mr Gilbert's trial, the hearing heard that the bus also crashed into a branch of Halifax bank in Darlington's Northgate on 7 July 2016.

Prosecutor Simon Reevell said Mr Gilbert had parked his bus to let passengers get on and off before it "zoomed" across the carriageway.

He said: "Mrs Brennan's tragic death was caused by Mr Gilbert pressing the accelerator of his bus when he should have been pressing the brake.

"He did that because he took a short cut, not in terms of route, but in terms of safety procedure.

"He had been trained how to drive his bus in a safe way and he chose to ignore that training with these consequences."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The bus careered into the Halifax bank

Had he put the bus into neutral, he would only have been able to put it back into gear if he had pressed the brake pedal, the court heard.

Instead, Mr Gilbert held the bus on the handbrake and kept it in gear, Mr Reevell said.

The court heard he was arrested after the collision and told police there was a mechanical fault with the vehicle, but later tests found there were none.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the collision from several angles.

Mr Reevell said: "If you are taught a safe way of doing something and if you take a short cut that has dangers attached to it, and if you cause one of those dangers to happen, then you are driving dangerously."

The trial continues.

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