Bus driver cleared of causing crash

A BUS driver accused of causing a crash, which left him and another motorist injured, today stands acquitted.

Tom Potter

A BUS driver accused of causing a crash, which left him and another motorist injured, today stands acquitted.

Phillip Grimes stood trial at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday accused of driving without due care and attention following a collision between his single-decker and a double-decker bus, driven by James McCullar, on April 21 last year. Mr Grimes was found not guilty by magistrates.

The accident happened at the Woodlands Road and Main Road crossroads on the B1080 at Freston and left Mr Grimes and Mr McCullar in hospital with injuries.

Mr McCullar was driving a school service bus, run by Ipswich Buses, on its way to Holbrook High School to collect pupils when the crash happened.

Mr Grimes was behind the wheel of a Far East Travel bus which was returning from Shotley. Neither bus had passengers on board at the time.

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Mr Grimes, 51, from Geneva Road, Ipswich, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, told the court he couldn't remember many details of the incident. “I had dropped off the last passenger at Holbrook then all I can remember is a red bus in front of me,” he said.

Zaman Choudhury, defending Mr Grimes, suggested that his client's loss of memory may have affected the accuracy of evidence he gave in a police interview three weeks after the accident, in which he told police he may have been distracted before the two buses collided.

Mr Choudhury said: “It is not in dispute that Mr Grimes suffered substantial injuries and it is entirely plausible that those injuries could have affected his interview.”

Sandra Dyer, prosecuting, had maintained that Mr Grimes allegedly failed to slow down and was travelling partially in the wrong lane when the two buses approached a bend in the road from opposite directions.

Mr Choudhury argued that a vehicle activity report had tracked Mr Grimes travelling at 23mph shortly before the collision and that there would be no reason for him to increase his speed to between 35 and 40mph, as reported by Mr McCullar.

Magistrates said they felt evidence submitted by Mr McCullar regarding the speed Mr Grimes was travelling at the time of the crash was “perhaps incorrect” and that, due to the narrow width of the road, felt Mr Grimes was in a “reasonable position” when approaching the turn.