Fife bus driver guilty after running over two schoolboys
A Glenrothes bus driver has been found guilty of dangerous driving after running over two schoolboys in a horrific accident in a Fife car park.
One of the boys miraculously escaped serious injury after being knocked down and crawled from under the coach.
However, the other youngster, then aged 13, suffered severe injuries and was trapped under a wheel as passers-by desperately tried to free him.
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As frantic efforts began, bus driver John Morrison refused to leave his vehicle and did not even phone the emergency services.
It was feared in the days after the accident that the boy may have to have his leg and arm amputated but both limbs were saved.
Morrison (60) of Marmion Drive, was found guilty on the fourth day of a trial that began in April.
The charge was that on February 28 last year in Allan Crescent, Dunfermline, Morrison caused serious injury to a 13-year-old boy by driving a vehicle dangerously, failed to maintain proper observations of the roadway around him and struck both boys, also causing injury to the younger boy.
Sentence was deferred for reports until November 13 and a temporary driving ban was put in place with immediate effect.
The incident took place when Morrison, who works for Bay Travel, had dropped off a group in a car park to go to an after-school centre in Abbeyview.
As he began to leave the area, pupils from a local high school were making their way home through the same car park.
Morrison admitted seeing a group of around ten youngsters in the car park in front of his bus.
Despite this he drove towards them and said he “thought they would have the sense to get out of the way.”
He thought they had all moved but then heard screams and shouts.
Asked why he had not got off the bus to see what had happened, Morrison said: “I was terrified” and claimed that he had been threatened by people who gathered at the scene.
Morrison told the court he had been a bus driver for 27 years and after the accident and has continued to drive for his firm.
The trial had previously heard of chaotic scenes as the boy cried for help, on-lookers were screaming, while others videoed the incident for social media and the bus was vandalised.
The boy who was seriously injured told the court he had undergone five operations since the accident.
He was trapped under the wheel of the bus as members of the public made valiant but unsuccessful efforts to raise the vehicle.
He was eventually freed after the arrival of the emergency services.
The boy, now 14, sustained multiple fractures to his right leg and right arm. He had pins inserted in his leg, had three skin grafts and spent time in a wheelchair. He was in hospital for more than a month.
He can now walk and is continuing his recovery but said in court: “I can’t run that well.”
He said he was walking back home from high school with friends and passing through a car park.
“I don’t remember seeing the bus,” said the youngster, adding that he had been looking at his friend’s phone. “I think I saw a flash and the bus hit me.”
Sheriff Charles MacNair told the boy: “You have shown remarkable fortitude in the face of serious injury. Many people who come to this court would have made much more of these injuries. You should feel very proud.”
Graham Cork (50) a Fife Council worker, was in his van in the car park when he heard a “commotion”.
He ran over and “dived under the bus to see to the kid, talk to him and try to keep him as calm as possible.”
Michael Dunster (21) a furniture deliveryman, witnessed the bus hitting the boys. “It was like slow motion. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. It was like something out of a horror film.”
He went on: “The bus driver asked me if the boy was dead. I said I didn’t know.”
His work colleague Samuel Melville (29) said the bus driver made no attempt to slow down before the collision.
He said he was “angry” with the driver after the accident. “The driver asked me how the boy was. I told him to get out and look for himself. He just shrugged.”
Giving his verdict, Sheriff MacNair told Morrison: “The boys were there to be seen but you carried on driving and collided with them.”
“It can only be that you were not paying proper attention or you would have seen them.”
The injured boy’s gran, who has brought him up, said after the verdict: “We’re relieved and glad it’s over so we can get on with our lives.”
She said of her grandson: “He’ll never be the same as he was before but we’ll make sure he has a great life.
“This has been terrible for all of us but we’re looking to make a fresh start now and finally putting it behind us.
“People were saying things at the time about the boys and I’m happy that now it’s been proven in court they weren’t to blame for any of this and it was dangerous driving.”
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