Darlington bus crash driver gets suspended sentence

The bus underneath the bridge
Image caption The bus was taking about 50 pupils to school

A school bus driver who injured 12 students when he crashed a double-decker into a bridge has been given a suspended sentence and a driving ban.

Trevor Wilson, 51, was driving the bus to Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College when it crashed in Neasham Road, Darlington, in September.

Wilson, of Wellington Walk, Stockton, admitted dangerous driving when he appeared before Darlington magistrates.

He was given a 12-week sentence, suspended for a year.

After the hearing Wilson, who has lost his job, said he was "sorry" for what he had done.

The hearing was told he was relying on the directions of a 17-year-old girl because he had never driven the route before and missed four warning signs before hitting the low bridge, ripping off the bus roof.

'Lost good name'

He was also banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

One student suffered a broken collar bone and 11 others needed hospital treatment after the crash.

David Maddison, prosecuting, said: "A witness described students on the top deck having a look of bewilderment as they disappeared when the bus hit the bridge."

Wilson, who has 30 years' driving experience, had only ever driven single deckers before the accident, the court heard.

Simon Walker, defending, said: "He still has flashbacks whenever he thinks about what might have happened.

"He has lost his good name, he has lost his job and, at least temporarily, he has lost his health.

"This is not a situation where there has been deliberate bad driving.

"This is an incident of negligent driving which could have had catastrophic consequences but thankfully did not."

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