A BUS driver acquitted of careless driving after an elderly woman suffered serious head injuries in an accident has spoken of his relief.
Miguel Ferreira Perestrelo, of Spring Road, Bournemouth, was driving a single-decker Yellow Bus when it was involved in a collision with Celia Southern close to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in March last year.
Mrs Southern, who was using the pedestrian crossing, was “thrown into the air” during the incident.
She then fell on to the road, hitting her head on the ground, and was in a coma for 48 hours afterwards.
Yesterday, magistrates dismissed a charge of driving without due care and attention after a one-day trial, during which the court heard that Mr Perestrelo had been navigating the “large and complex” junction in Castle Lane East prior to the collision.
Mr Perestrelo told the Echo after the case: “It was a tragic accident – it was nothing more.
“I feel relieved with the outcome, but it is something that I had already expected.”
Mrs Southern had visited Tesco after her husband’s appointment at the hospital was delayed by an hour and a half.
As she crossed the lanes, it is believed she may have fallen into Mr Perestrelo’s blind spot, the court heard.
He had been driving on a route which saw him travel along Holdenhurst Avenue and into Castle Lane East before crossing into Deansleigh Road.
The 30-year-old, who was dismissed from his job three days after the accident, had been driving without incident for almost eight years.
He now works as a waiter after being unable to find further work as a driver.
“When you’re driving a bus, there is so much to be aware of,” he told the Echo.
“At that junction, there are other cars from every direction, you are checking that the passengers are safe – everything you do considers everyone else’s well-being.”
During the trial at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court, it was heard that Mrs Southern was left seriously ill after the collision.
Agent prosecutor Lucy Conroy alleged: “The victim was six-sevenths of the way across it, and a step away from the pavement, when the bus collided with her.”
Gaynor Smart, who had been sitting on the bus at the time of the collision, told the court: “As the bus started to turn [into Deansleigh Road], I suddenly saw a lady in front and I thought she didn’t seem to be aware that the bus was there.
“She was a million miles away.
“I thought, ‘Jump, jump up on to the sidewalk – this bus isn’t going to miss you’.”