A COLNE coach driver has lost his job and been landed a hefty fine for causing a crash in Scotland in which several people were injured.
Former Shearings coach driver Geoffrey Menzies (63), of Rimington Avenue, was initially charged with dangerous driving after the incident on the A9 Inverness to Perth road, but admitted a reduced charge of careless driving.
Inverness Sheriff Court heard Menzies was driving a group of holidaymakers from the Royal Hotel at Dornoch back to the north of England on April 16th when he ran into the back of a lorry.
Fiscal depute Heather Swan told the court: “The Shearings coach in front of the lorry turned left into a layby. The lorry also slowed down. Mr Menzies failed to see or react to the vehicle in front of him.”
She said Menzies was trapped due to the impact of the crash and unable to control his coach which hit the lorry twice more before crossing the carriageway, mounting the verge and overturning.
Menzies, who was trapped by the steering column, was cut from the vehicle by a fire crew and taken to a hospital in Dundee.
Several of the 33 passengers on the coach were taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries.
In a police interview, Menzies said the lorry in front of him braked severely and he was unable to avoid colliding with the back of it. He said he tried to steer out of the way, but his wheels locked.
Menzies’s lawyer, Mr Graeme Runcie, said the accident was due to a momentary lapse by his client.
Menzies had been working as a driver for 36 years and had been employed by Shearings for 23 years.
He said Menzies had driven all over the UK, Europe and Russia, averaging 80,000 miles a year, and had committed two minor driving offences in that time.
He added Menzies’s employment had been terminated by Shearings and he was still receiving treatment for injuries to his right leg.
He told the court: “The error on his part was a momentary lapse on a background of 36 years of almost flawless driving.”