York & North Yorkshire

Flood drama school bus driver 'ignored road closed signs'

Bus trapped in flood water north of York Image copyright PA
Image caption Nearly 30 children had to be rescued from the bus

A school bus driver whose vehicle became stranded in floodwater with 23 pupils on board had ignored two "road closed" signs, a court has heard.

York Crown Court was told the bus ended up in deep water between Newton-on-Ouse and Tollerton, near York, on 5 January.

It happened after what Judge Paul Batty QC described as "floods of biblical proportions" in the area.

Bus driver Graham Jones, 43, argues it was a "genuine mistake" and denies one charge of dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Graham O'Sullivan said the bus had been transporting the pupils on an eight-mile (12km) journey to Easingwold School on the first day of school following the Christmas holiday.

He said: "Mr Jones had driven through two 'road closed' signs."

Mr O'Sullivan said Mr Jones had driven through one section of flooded road but became stuck while driving through a second stretch.

The former Army driver, of Linton Woods Lane, Linton-on-Ouse, said he did not think the water was deep enough to cause him any difficulties.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Graham Jones denies dangerous driving

He said the vehicle became stuck in a ditch as he tried to reverse after realising floodwater was coming into the bus.

When asked by the prosecutor if the way he drove was dangerous, Mr Jones replied: "I did not put the children's lives in danger.

"No, I did not class it as dangerous."

Mr O'Sullivan said Mr Jones had driven through floodwater despite not knowing the depth or breadth of it or the effect it might have on his bus.

"It is clear that someone who is driving in that way, risking the safety of his passengers and himself, is driving dangerously," he said.

The secondary school pupils on board were not injured but had to be rescued from the bus by North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

The trial continues.

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