Luas tram was ‘impaled’ up to 3ft inside bus, court hears

A Luas driver has gone on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for “impaling” his tram into a bus on O’Connell Street.

Oriyomi Emmanuel, aged 39, of Jamestown Park, Ratoath, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty under the Railway Safety Act 2005 to the unsafe operation of a tram at the junction of Middle Abbey St and O’Connell St on Sept 16, 2009.

The bus driver told the jury the front of the Luas was inside the bus. He said he had a green light to go through the junction when the tram hit him.

A Garda witness said the nose of the tram had penetrated the bus by “2ft-3ft” and that two ladies were trapped underneath.

Paul Bonney told Garnet Orange BL, prosecuting, that he was driving the No 16 bus south on O’Connell St. He said he in a “normal, professional manner” at 25 to 30km/h and drove through Abbey St junction as he “had a green light”. He said he saw the Luas coming toward the cab of the bus and accelerated forward to get out of the way. He said he tried to avoid a collision but the Luas hit the middle of the bus. He said several people were injured, including himself.

Sergeant Brian Cullen responded to the crash. He said that when he arrived the Luas had “impaled” the bus by 2ft-3ft and two women trapped under its nose were being tended to by rescue workers.

George Doyle was driving another Luas in the opposite direction and was waiting at the lights at the other end of the junction. He said he was stopped about 30 seconds and that the junction “looked clear to me” when he saw the other tram begin to move.

Mr Doyle said he did not have a go signal for his tram and agreed with Mr Orange that most of the time both trams at a junction got a go signal at the same time, but said it was “not unusual” for only one to get the signal.

He agreed there were no circumstances when it was permissible to move without a go signal unless traffic lights were down. In that situation “the rules of the road” apply, he said.

Mr Doyle said that when he went to assist, he saw a handle in Mr Emmanuel’s cab was all the way down, indicating the emergency brake was engaged.

The trial continues.

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