Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry bus crash: Driver 'had warning' before crash

Bus crash outside Sainsbury's in Coventry Image copyright @Haroon_Mota/PA
Image caption Stagecoach Midlands said the bus was on the X18 service from Coventry to Leamington

A 77-year-old bus driver had been warned about his deteriorating standard of driving before he crashed into a supermarket and killed two people, a court has heard.

Birmingham Crown Court was told former Leamington Spa mayor Kailash Chander, now aged 80, pressed down the accelerator instead of the brake.

The crash happened in Coventry in October 2015.

Mr Chander, from Leamington, is unfit to plead or stand trial.

He has been excused from attending a "finding-of-facts" trial.

Image copyright South West News Service
Image caption Kailash Chander is a former mayor of neighbouring Leamington Spa

The jury heard that despite being told not to drive when he was tired Mr Chander had worked three consecutive 75-hour weeks prior to the crash.

Opening the case against him, prosecution QC Andrew Thomas said Mr Chander had been charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and two of causing serious injury.

Bus passenger Rowan Fitzgerald, aged seven, from Leamington, and 76-year-old pedestrian Dora Hancox, from Nuneaton, were both killed in the crash in Trinity Street on Saturday October 3.

Explaining the facts alleged against Mr Chander, Mr Thomas told the court: "This appears to be the case of a driver who put his foot down on the accelerator instead of pressing the brake.

"And instead of realising his mistake, he kept his foot down on the accelerator throughout the journey. The prosecution say that by any objective standard it is shockingly bad driving."

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Rowan Fitzgerald attended St Anthony's Catholic Primary School in Leamington
Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Dora Hancox was one of two people killed in the crash

Mr Thomas added Mr Chander did not apply the brakes until "some seconds" after the bus had crashed into the supermarket and come to a halt.

The prosecutor told the jury Mr Chander will not give evidence during the trial and they will be asked to consider whether or not the facts alleged have been proved.

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