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School bus driver sentenced to jail for causing serious injury by dangerous driving

|News, Driving offences

A school bus driver has been sentenced to three years in prison today (9 July 2021) at Winchester Crown Court after the bus he was driving collided with a railway bridge whilst transporting 74 children to school.

Martin Walker, aged 37 and from Southampton, was driving a double decker bus full of children to the Henry Beaufort Secondary School in Winchester on 10 September 2020, when he deviated from the designated bus route and instead drove along Wellhouse Lane towards the railway bridge.

The double decker bus Walker was driving exceeded the height of the railway bridge, but he took the decision to drive the bus under the bridge anyway. The impact of the collision caused the entire roof of the bus to become detached and three children suffered life-changing injuries. Other children on the bus suffered minor injuries from the collision, and many were covered in debris and broken glass.

Bernadette Kearney, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “The CPS worked with the police to build a strong case against Martin Walker. Witness statements and CCTV proved that Martin Walker took the decision to disregard road signs warning of height restrictions and instead made an entirely dangerous manoeuvre by attempting to drive under the bridge.

"Prior to this Martin Walker had stopped his bus at the entrance to the bridge to allow an oncoming vehicle to pass through, before accelerating towards the bridge and seeking to drive under it, when he should have been aware of the dangers this posed.

“He demonstrated a clear disregard for the safety of his passengers, which resulted in three children suffering very serious and life-changing injuries.

“I hope that today’s sentence will bring a measure of comfort to the children and their families who will have been through a traumatic ordeal as a result of Walker’s actions on that day.”

Notes to editors

  • Martin Walker was charged with three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
  • He entered guilty pleas on 5 May 2021 at Winchester Crown Court.
  • Walker was also disqualified from driving for four and a half years.

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