Coach driver gets three-year ban for pedestrian death

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A former Selwyns of Runcorn coach driver who collided with a pedestrian, who later died, on Princess Parkway in Manchester has been sentenced.

Ian O’Mara, 55, was walking over a pedestrian crossing on the busy dual carriageway on October 30, 2015, when a Van Hool coach driven by Colin Ayrton skipped a red light and knocked him down. Mr O’Mara was rushed to hospital, but later passed away as a result of his injuries.

Driver Ayrton was ‘forced to swerve’ to avoid hitting a line of stationary cars waiting at a red light as he approached the crossing. However, he failed to bring the vehicle to a halt after changing lanes, and collided with Mr O’Mara, knocking him unconscious.

Mr Ayrton, described as a lifelong driver, reportedly said that his foot had slipped off the brake pedal as he tried to stop the empty coach. The court heard he never exceeded the road’s 40mph speed limit.

District Judge, Sam Goozee, said that there was no evidence of the vehicle slowing as it approached the lights, which, in his view, showed that Ayrton’s ‘inattention was more than momentary,’ despite Ayrton’s claim’s that his foot had slipped from the brake pedal.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Mr Ayrton admitted causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing and has been dismissed from his role at Selwyns, the court heard.

Banning Mr Ayrton from driving for three years, the judge ordered him to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and he also received a 16-week jail term is to be suspended for two years.

Sentencing Mr Ayrton at Manchester Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Goozee said: “The effect of this tragic incident will live with Mr O’Mara’s family and friends for eternity, I am sure. However, I recognise you are a man of exceptional good character – and I’m satisfied that the remorse you have expressed is indeed genuine. There’s no doubt the consequences of your actions will live with you.”