Coach driver jailed over A41 crash

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Eight-month sentence handed to Stuart West after judge states ‘it’s a miracle you didn’t kill anyone’

The driver of a coach which ploughed into a stationary queue of traffic has been jailed for eight months, the Shropshire Star reported.

A.T. Brown Coaches driver Stuart West, 55, was driving over the speed limit for his Van Hool T9 coach on the A41 at Gorsey Bank on October 5, 2016, when he crashed into the back of a van and pushed a car off the road.

Mr West pleaded guilty to seriously injuring Cole Macera and Hannah Bowen by dangerous driving.

Prosecuting barrister, Sati Ruck, said: “He failed to see the stationary traffic until it was too late. The defendant hit the back of a van, then travelled onto the other carriageway where he hit another car and pushed it backwards into a nearby garden.

“Cole Macera suffered a broken back. He was taken to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital then transferred to the Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen to have an operation to insert permanent rods to stabilise his spine.

“He returned to work in February, but he is still unable to lift heavy things and suffers pain and discomfort occasionally.

“Hanna Bowen, who was going to pick her children up from school, fractured her sternum.”

Arvind Sharma, defending, said Mr West was of good character and held a clean driving licence up until the accident.

“He can’t account for his actions,” he said. “It was clearly a lapse in concentration.

“Luckily for him, the coach was empty when it occurred. What he is anxious to do now is to return to work.”

Mr West originally denied the charges at Telford Magistrates Court in May, but changed his plea after he was shown CCTV footage of the crash.

The judge said: “I believe your remorse is genuine and your mitigation is a clean record, but you caused a serious accident and it’s a miracle you didn’t kill anyone.

“It was on a straight stretch of road with excellent visibility. Because there is no sensible explanation, I have to conclude that you voluntarily distracted yourself. Although you were exceeding the speed limit, it had no bearing on the collision itself.”

Police investigations ruled out that West was using his mobile phone. He was given an eight-month sentence, was disqualified from driving for two years and was ordered to take an extended driving test.