Passenger yelled at death crash driver

A PASSENGER on a double-decker bus yelled at the driver to brake just before it ploughed into the teenage rider of a moped, leaving him trapped under the wheels, a coroner was told yesterday.

A PASSENGER on a double-decker bus yelled at the driver to brake just before it ploughed into the teenage rider of a moped, leaving him trapped under the wheels, a coroner was told yesterday.

On the first day of the inquest into the death of student Matthew Eckett, 17, who was killed only yards from his home as he was leaving out on his morning journey to Yarmouth College, his family listened to the vivid recollections of witnesses.

Paul Rothery was near the front of the First Eastern bus, which was packed with schoolchildren on their way to Flegg High School, Martham, when the collision occurred at the junction of Norwich Road and Prince of Wales Road, in Caister.

Mr Rothery, who was taking his young son and daughter to school in Hemsby from their home in Gorleston, told the inquest how the bus had travelled along Norwich Road from Caister High Street and slowed to a stop to turn right into Prince of Wales Road.


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Bus driver Dennis Kuhn had let one car come out of Prince of Wales Road, but Matthew's moped had stayed where it was, correctly positioned in the middle of the road, waiting to turn right.

Mr Rothery said: “The bus started to turn and I thought, 'That's a funny angle he's taking'. I knew there was no way he was going to get round with the motorbike there. The bus was going up the wrong side of the road like it was France.

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“I went flying up to the driver and yelled at him to brake. He did not stop and went straight over the top of him.”

Mr Rothery said the driver had then said he had not seen him and the brakes had failed.

Drivers Ian Harvey, a heating engineer from Bradwell, and Luchia Parker, of Caister, corroborated Mr Rothery's evidence that the bus driver had cut across the junction at the wrong angle.

Julie Sedge, an attendant on the bus employed to look after the schoolchildren, told the coroner she had been talking to a group of youngsters with her back to the driver.

She said: “I looked round for a split second, saw the moped and thought, 'That's going to be close'. Then I heard a crunch and felt a jolt, but the bus carried on rolling for a couple of seconds.”

In a written statement, paramedic Rowan Day said he had arrived at the scene at about 8.15am on July 1 last year and found the casualty under one of the wheels, unconscious and not breathing. He confirmed death.

Pathologist Richard Ball, who carried out the post mortem examination, said Matthew's body had an extensive abrasion on the back with parallel lines indicating the tyre pattern.

He had suffered severe neck and chest injuries and loss of consciousness and death would have occurred almost instantly.

Mr Kuhn, who was banned from driving for 18 months and fined �400 in January after admitting driving without due care and attention, will give evidence today when coroner Keith Dowding resumes the inquest at Yarmouth Magistrates' Court.

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