Reasons behind fatal bus crash shrouded in mystery

CONFUSION continues to surround the events leading to the Hatton bus crash that killed two people last May.

Following an inquest on Monday it is no clearer as to why Chander Kaur Virdi, 59, of Curzon Grove, Leamington, drove head-on into the bus of school children last May, killing her and bus driver David Franklin, 67, of Dorridge, instantly.

The crash happened on May 18 last year when mother-of-five Mrs Virdi’s Citroen C2 moved into the wrong lane on the A4177 near Hatton before colliding with the bus of 32 pupils from Aylesford and Myton schools.

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A 16-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital with serious leg and facial injuries, and 20 other children were treated at the scene.

Sukhbir Kaur was in the car with her good friend Mrs Virdi, and said they were on the way back from a shopping trip from Birmingham.

Mrs Kaur said: “Her last words to me were ‘We will be home in 15 minutes’. I have no idea what happened.”

Just before the collision Mr Franklin tried to steer to the side, and the bus ran off the road into a tree.

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Joanne Ashmore was driving the car behind Mrs Virdi and said: “The car in front started to move to the other side of the road, it didn’t seem to be braking. It was fairly clear that there was going to be a collision.”

Pathology reports showed that there were no drugs or alcohol in the systems of either Mrs Virdi or Mr Franklin, and Coroner Sean McGovern revealed that Mrs Virdi died from multiple injuries, and Mr Franklin from a severe head injury.

Stewart Graham was driving two cars behind Mrs Virdi and said: “We did notice that the car in front moved straight out of the line of traffic. My colleague said, ‘What the hell is she doing?’

“There had been no untoward movement or jerking, it was a deliberate move out. I remember seeing the driver’s face and thinking there’s nothing I can do here.”

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Accident investigator PC Dean Spencer said that both vehicles were in full working order before the crash and neither was speeding.

Mr Graham was praised for turning off the engine of the bus, as were the people living nearby who rushed out of their homes to help following the crash.

Recording a verdict of death from a motor vehicle incident, Mr McGovern said: “It is very difficult to say what happened.

“For some reason she has kept her steering on in such as way that she continued from her lane into the lane where Mr Franklin was driving the bus.

“For the two spouses to lose a life partner takes a lot of strength to come to terms with. I hope you’re able to move on in due course.”

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