Midland Red South, the Warwickshire branch of Stagecoach, has been fined £2.3 million after a bus crash that killed two people.
In September 2015, Kailash Chander, former Mayor of Leamington Spa and bus driver for Midland Red South, drove a double decker bus into a Sainsbury’s in Coventry, killing a seven-year-old child who was on the top deck, and a 76-year-old pedestrian woman.
Those on the bus described that his hands were “shaking” before the crash. The trial concluded that he had been “driving dangerously” and mistook the accelerator for the brake.
He was unfit to stand trial due to dementia, which was undiagnosed during the time of the crash, according to an expert.
His barrister, Robert Smith, stated that Mr Chander was “traumatised” by the crash and required full-time care. He was sentenced to a two-year medical supervision order.
It was also revealed that Midland Red South was aware of his “erratic” driving after four crashes in three years. Despite warnings given against Mr Chander, they admitted to allowing him to continue working for over 70 hours per week.
For their health and safety breaches, the company was sentenced to a £2.3 million fine. Judge Paul Farrer attributed the cause of the crash to “the failings of the company”, who “almost immediately ignored” the warnings against Mr Chander, which were “not enforced”.
Midland Red South Managing Director Phil Medlicott said the company has since made “several key changes”, such as stronger controls on working hours and more medical testing for drivers.
He added that the company was “deeply sorry” and “bears the weight of [their] responsibility for this tragedy”.
He also stated: “We deeply regret the opportunities that were missed to act decisively on emerging warning signs.
“We cannot turn back the clock in this case, but we have done everything possible to learn lessons.”