Glasgow & West Scotland

Rangers crash bus 'like a rollercoaster'

Ryan Baird Image copyright PoliceScotland/RyanRowe
Image caption Ryan Baird died in the crash as fans made their way to the Rangers v Partick Thistle game

A Rangers supporters' bus which crashed, killing a fan, felt like a "rollercoaster" as it entered a roundabout, a court has heard.

Philip Storrie, 53, from Kirkconnel, Dumfriesshire, was giving evidence at the trial of bus driver Callum Phillips, 49, from Dalbeattie.

Mr Phillips denies killing 39-year-old Ryan Baird by dangerous driving.

He is alleged to have caused the bus to crash at the Crossroads Roundabout, near Kilmarnock, on 1 October 2016.

Mr Baird, from Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, died as he and 36 fellow Rangers fans from the Nith Valley Supporters' Club were travelling to Glasgow for a home match against Partick Thistle.

He was trapped in the wreckage after the bus collided with a lamp post and rolled over onto its side.

In evidence, Mr Storrie, a rail worker, told the High Court in Glasgow that he heard someone say "Whoa" about 100 yards from the roundabout.

'No brakes'

He added: "It became apparent to me we were approaching it too fast. I said the bus is going to cowp here."

Prosecutor Richard Goddard asked Mr Storrie: "What did you do," and he replied: "There was a window and I braced myself against it. We came round the roundabout like a rollercoaster fashion. The bus rocked to the left and to the right."

After the bus crashed, Mr Storrie clambered out and saw Mr Baird lying half in and half out of the vehicle.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Witnesses said the bus was travelling too fast as it approached the roundabout

He added: "I tried to get a pulse and there was no pulse."

He said paramedics then took over.

Meat factory worker Samuel Nesbit, 62, told the court that seconds before the crash he heard Mr Phillips shout, "No brakes, no brakes."

Former HGV driver Mr Nesbit, from Dumfriesshire, was sitting three rows behind the driver.

He said: "Maybe about 50 yards from the roundabout the driver was standing up, holding on to the steering wheel and shouting 'no brakes, no brakes.'"

Asked about the manner of Mr Phillips' driving during the journey, he replied: "It was fast."

'Far too fast'

When asked about Mr Phillips' approach to the roundabout, he replied: "It was far too fast."

Mr Nesbit said that after the crash it was chaos in the bus, with people shouting and swearing and a number of people covered in blood. He said it was "hectic".

Mr Goddard asked: "During the course of the journey, the driver went round seven roundabouts, stopped to pick up passengers and stopped at temporary traffic lights just three quarters of a mile from the crash site. Did there appear to be any problem with the brakes on those occasions?"

Mr Nesbit replied: "No."

Defence counsel Simon Gilbride asked Mr Nesbit: 'Did it look as if Mr Phillips was pumping the brakes, did he seem quite panicked?", to which he replied: "Well, I think so yes."

John Campbell, 69, from Sanquhar, told the jury he was sitting at the back of the bus when it crashed.

"I was knocked over by someone else," he said. "I finished up on top of the man who died."

Bus speed

Caitlin Hamilton, 23, from Sanquhar, said she was driving between 60 and 63mph heading towards the Crossroads Roundabout and thought the bus must be doing 70mph.

She said the bus crashed minutes later.

She wept as she told the court she only realised it was the supporters' bus when she saw someone she recognised climb out of it.

The court heard that Ms Hamilton's car caught up with the bus which was stopped at temporary traffic lights about a mile from the Crossroads Roundabout, before the line of traffic moved off.

She told the jury: "I was two or three cars behind the bus. I remember saying to my mum 'that bus is going far too fast. I cannae catch up.' At that point I was doing 60 to 63mph. I just thought to myself it was not going to make it round that roundabout. It was just going far too fast."

Defence counsel Simon Gilbride asked Ms Hamilton: "You have given an estimation of the speed you say the bus was doing, could you be mistaken about that," and she replied: "no."

The court has heard that the speed limit for busses on the A76 is 50mph.

The trial before judge Lady Stacey continues.

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