DPP gets file after 19 injured in bus accident

CRIMINAL charges may yet arise from a freak bus accident in Waterford last year that caused 19 people to be treated in hospital after a bus mounted a packed pavement on the city’s quayside.

Gardaí yesterday confirmed a file on the incident has been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions who will decide whether or not to prosecute Bus Eireann or the driver of the vehicle.

“It totally depends on the evidence and whether or not the DPP will decide if anyone, be it the driver or the company, should be prosecuted,” Sgt John McDonald of Waterford Garda Station explained.

Sgt McDonald would not disclose the findings of the garda probe into the crash, but said a public service vehicle inspector had carried out a full technical examination of the vehicle and numerous statements has been taken, including interviews with the bus driver.

Bus Eireann has yet to publicly identify the cause of the accident, which was reminiscent of the Wellington Quay bus tragedy that claimed the lives of five people in February 2004.

“The internal company investigation has not been completed and it will be some time yet in the future,” Barry Coyle, spokesperson for Bus Eireann explained.

Mr Coyle refused to comment on whether human error or mechanical failure was to blame.

“The answer to that has not been concluded, it’s still very much a live issue,” he said.

Mechanical engineers and safety managers from the company have been involved in the five-month investigation into the crash which occurred on October 6 last.

It emerged yesterday that some technical staff at the local depot are carrying out an independent investigation into the accident.

A staff representative said it was too early to comment, but said it hoped to conclude its findings in the next two months.

“I have no knowledge of that,” Mr Coyle said. “Safety is paramount and the publication of the eventual findings will have to be considered by the board.”

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