Somerset

Driver faces charges after Baroness coach crash

  • 6 February 2013
  • From the section Somerset
Baroness's tour bus crashed through railings in Bath
Norman Markus was driving the band Baroness in the coach

The driver of a coach that plunged 30ft (9m) from a viaduct near Bath is to be charged with dangerous driving.

Norman Markus was driving the band Baroness in the coach after a Bristol gig at the time of the crash in August.

Several members of the US band were seriously injured in the crash with one suffering a broken arm and leg.

German national Mr Markus, 39, also faces charges of using a vehicle with defective brakes and breaching a 7.5 tonne weight limit.

In total, nine people were on board the coach when it crashed at Brassknocker Hill, Monkton Combe.

Andrew Walters of the Crown Prosecution Service said it had been a "very complicated investigation" in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police.

Gigs cancelled

Mr Markus is also facing charges of insufficient daily and weekly rest periods and using a vehicle in a condition likely to cause danger of injury.

He has also been charged with not having the correct licence entitlement to drive the coach involved in the crash.

He is due to appear before Bath Magistrates' Court on 15 April.

John Baizley, Allen Blickle and Matt Maggioni were among nine people on board the coach

The band injured in the crash - Baroness - hail from Savannah, Georgia, and formed in 2003.

One band member, John Baizley, underwent eight hours of surgery at Bath's Royal United Hospital to rebuild his left arm.

Surgeons used two titanium plates, 20 screws and 1.5ft (45cm) of wire to save his arm.

Drummer Allen Blickle and bass player Matt Maggioni both suffered fractured vertebrae in the crash, while vocalist Pete Adams received minor injuries.

Following the crash they received messages of support from people such as rock star Alice Cooper.

The band cancelled all its remaining 2012 gigs following the crash.

But in December the band announced they were to return to making music after physical therapy described as a "pain and struggle".

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