Coach driver sentenced to six years in jail for deaths on motorway

12/02/2013

A coach driver who drove a single-decker coach which broke down on the M5 motorway causing a collision that resulted in the deaths of a passenger and a lorry driver, has today been sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court to six years’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for four years.

Jasminder Dhesi, aged 50, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The coach he was driving was involved in a fatal incident on the southbound carriageway of the M5 between junctions 3 and 4 on 24 March 2012. 

His two victims, William Mapstone, the driver of the lorry which struck the stricken bus, died later that day in hospital from his injuries and Liquat Ali, a passenger on the coach, died at the scene. 

Rukshsana Mohammed, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"Jasminder Dhesi was an experienced driver who was employed to ferry workers to a food packaging plant in Evesham, Worcestershire. It was his duty to ensure that the vehicle he was using was roadworthy and in a suitable condition to be used on the public road network.

"Passengers on the coach gave accounts as to how, during their journey, the driver was experiencing problems prior to entering the motorway.

"Any prudent driver would have been aware that to continue driving a faulty vehicle onto the motorway was dangerous and instead they should have stopped and sought assistance. However, Dhesi made a grave decision to continue the journey and he drove the coach onto the motorway where it broke down a further two times. He managed to restart the vehicle and on its third and fatal breakdown, the coach came to a standstill next to a footbridge where there was no hard shoulder and it was here, in poor visibility due to the fog, that the tragic incident occurred.

"This serious error of judgement led to the deaths of Liquat Ali, a passenger on the coach and William Mapstone, the driver of the articulated lorry which hit the broken down bus, as well as seriously injuring other passengers on the coach.

"The police launched a thorough investigation and a number of expert reports were obtained. Once we had received all of the evidence, Dhesi was charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving to which he pleaded guilty and has today been sentenced to six years' imprisonment. 

"Our thoughts are today with the families and friends of Mr Ali and Mr Mapstone and we hope that today's sentence brings a sense of closure to them and that they can now move on with their lives."