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Bus driver tells court elderly man was to blame for accident that crushed him between two vehicles

'Boy racers' Callum Fraser and Colin Maclennan appeared at Inverness Justice Centre.
Pictured: Inverness Justice Centre

An elderly motorist made himself “the meat in the sandwich” between his car and a bus when he walked up the side of the coach as it was pulling out of its stop, a court has been told.

Stagecoach bus driver Nigel Dunn, 53, from Muirton Place, Boat of Garten, suggested Les Crichton needed to shoulder responsibility for the accident in which he was injured.

He was giving evidence on the fourth day of his jury trial at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Former Inverness businessman Mr Crichton broke his pelvis in two places and injured his intestine when he was crushed by Dunn’s bus into the side of his Kia Sportage on March 22 2017 in a Carrbridge car park.

Dunn, who denies causing serious injury by driving dangerously, was being questioned by his defence lawyer Nigel Beaumont and claimed Mr Crichton had “imperilled himself”.

The former Grantown on Spey special police constable denies causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

‘I stopped as soon as I heard a loud wail’

He told the jury: “When I moved off, he was standing at the rear of his vehicle.

“I thought that he was waiting for me to leave, but he must have walked up the gap between the bus and the car as I was moving.”

He agreed with Mr Beaumont that Mr Crichton, then aged 74 and now 78 years of age, had “put himself in the position of being the meat in the sandwich”.

Dunn said: “I didn’t expect him to do that.

‘‘I was concentrating on any traffic in front of me and couldn’t turn my head far enough to see if he had moved.

“I didn’t expect him to have. I stopped as soon as I heard a loud wail.

‘‘I was in shock and very upset.

“I went to see him but he swore at me and told me to leave him alone.”

Earlier in the trial, Mr Crichton said that there had been an initial exchange of words between the pair as he returned from a visit to the toilet.

The pensioner said that he had parked close to the bus stop to minimise the distance he had to walk to the toilet due to an ailment.

He said Dunn had complained about his parking and that he had told the accused he shouldn’t be driving a bus if he couldn’t get past his car.

“It was probably the wrong thing to have said,” he conceded.

The final prosecution witness was police collision expert Constable Ian Mathers.

He agreed with Mr Beaumont that Mr Crichton had parked in “an utterly inconsiderate and wrong place”, in close proximity to a bus stop and junction.

PC Mathers also agreed with Mr Beaumont that the accident would not have happened if the Kia had not been there, and that it was difficult for the bus to manoeuvre past it.

The road policing unit officer was then asked if Mr Crichton could be seen on the CCTV walking between the car and the bus as it moved off.

He agreed.

Mr Beaumont then asked if the bus driver would be concentrating on what was happening ahead of him at the junction.

PC Mathers replied: “Yes. But a professional driver would also have to be aware of what was happening at the side and rear of his bus. It has to be done.”

The trial continues.

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