Minibus driver to be sentenced over M62 crash

A judge is to pass the sentence on a minibus driver involved a crash on the M62 last year which left an 18-year-old woman dead.

Bethany Jones was among a group of 20 travelling to Liverpool for a hen party when the bus she was travelling in became involved in a collision with an articulated lorry near Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

Multiple injuries

Miss Jones died after suffering multiple injuries and all of the coach passengers were injured.

Minibus driver James Johnson, 64, from Wyke, Bradford, pleaded guilty to causing the death of Miss Jones by dangerous driving and will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court.

Following a trial at the same court, lorry driver Kevin Ollerhead, 45, of St Helens, Merseyside, was found not guilty of the same charge.

Mechanical problems

The jury had heard how the minibus had suffered mechanical problems on the morning of the crash on April 26, and was travelling very slowly on the westbound side of the motorway when the collision occurred.

The party had asked driver Mr Johnson to pull over on their travels after smelling burning, the jury heard, but after a brief examination he could not identify a problem and continued the journey.

The 24-seater bus, which left South Elmsall at 11.06am as part of celebrations for the wedding of Stefanie Firth, was later found to have a burnt-out clutch.

Travelling at just 5.5mph on the nearside lane of the M62, close to junction 32, the bus was hit by the lorry from behind and pushed 50 yards along the road and into a barrier, landing on its side across the exit slip road, the court heard.

Mr Ollerhead said he was a professional driver and there was nothing he could have done to avoid the accident.

Source: The Guardian

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