Bus driver hit car in Bedminster day after night on booze
A BUS driver crashed a double-decker carrying passengers into a line of parked cars after going on a drinking binge the night before an early shift.
Steven Derrick smashed head-on into a Mini Cooper car on St John's Lane, Bedminster, after several near misses, Bristol magistrates heard.
And when he was arrested the 24-year-old, of Bideford Crescent, Knowle West, was found to be over the drink-drive limit of 80mg, having 95mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.
The number 90 bus he was driving from Hengrove to the city centre on the morning of September 30 had eight passengers on board.
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Prosecuting, May Li said Derrick had picked up the First bus from the depot at 6.20am, after drinking "four or five double Jack Daniel's whiskey and cokes" and a pint of lager the previous night.
David Summerhayes got on the bus at Filwood Park at 6.53am and said he was "blanked" by Derrick, who appeared to be "staring into space".
Mr Summerhayes noticed the bus clip the kerb three times as it travelled along Newquay Road and he assumed Derrick must have been a trainee driver. At Glyn Vale, Derrick pulled up at a bus stop, despite no one waiting there, opened the doors and sat there for about 30 seconds. He did exactly the same further along the route, the court heard.
By the time he got to Wedmore Vale some of his passengers were so concerned they were threatening to get off before their stops.
Ms Li said on St John's Lane, Derrick swerved right into the middle of the road to avoid parked cars before swinging back left and hitting the white Mini head-on, forcing it 20ft along the road into another parked car, which then hit a third car.
The Mini belonged to Sarah Chuk, of Redcliffe. Shortly after the crash she told The Post: "If I had been in my car pulling away, I dread to think what might have happened."
The bus passengers were left shocked but uninjured.
Father-of-one Derrick had been working as a bus driver since 2008. He resigned after the incident but went on to get another driving job.
Mitigating, Judy Hampton said her client had personal problems at the time.
"Mr Derrick is extremely remorseful and apologetic to the passengers on the bus that particular morning," she said.
"He is, himself, shocked by what took place. As this was an early start, clearly the alcohol had not all gone from his system."
Passing sentence, presiding magistrate Roger Dunster said: "There could have been pedestrians in the vicinity and the result could have been much more serious."
Derrick was disqualified from driving for a year, must do 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 costs.
First Bus spokeswoman Karen Baxter said the company has a "stringent" drug and alcohol policy.
She said: "We randomly test 10 per cent of our entire workforce on an unannounced basis for any breaches of this policy and in addition to this have a process whereby when there is reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can also be tested.
"Anyone found to have more than 13 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 milligrams of breath would fail the test. This is more severe than the legal drink drive limit of 35mg/100 ml.
"Failure to comply with the policy is deemed as gross misconduct and the individual will be dealt with via disciplinary procedures which may result in dismissal."