Coach crash driver had flu, court is told

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A COACH driver has been fined £375 and ordered to pay £100 legal costs after his coach left the road and rolled over as he was driving 48 elderly people back from a Christmas shopping and sightseeing trip.

Gerald Calver 52, of Glebe Way, Mendlesham, pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to driving without due care and attention. In addition to the fine and costs, he was also given six points on his licence.

The court was told that after the accident it was discovered that Calver was suffering from flu and did not know what happened in the moments leading-up to the Christmas Eve accident on the A140 at Horsham St Faiths.

Prosecuting, Rachel Balfour said: “The majority of the passengers wore seat belts so injuries were only slight. Some received more serious injuries – a broken pelvis, broken collar bone.”

She said the coach went to the nearside ‘progressed over the grass verge and began to mount the embankment before rolling on to the offside where it came to rest’.

Some witnesses thought it had been slowing down to stop.

When the driver was taken to hospital he was found to have a temperature and was diagnosed with a strong flu virus. He maintained he did not pass out prior to the accident,

Tim Ridyard, in mitigation, said his client did not know what happened. There were no aggravating features and speed was not an issue.

Presiding magistrate Janet Evans-Jones said the careless driving was a concern. Calver was carrying 48 elderly passengers and there were varying levels of injury.

Calver has worked for the coach company, Galloway, for 25 years and is employed as transport manager.

He had two previous driving licence endorsements for speeding, although not in a public service vehicle, but magistrates decided he should not be banned under totting up procedures because it would interfere with his caring role for his 85-year-old father and others.