A COURT has heard how a passenger “grabbed the steering wheel” of a coach as it crashed on to a main A66 roundabout in darkness.
Darryle Gordon Warren, 52, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court, and denies one charge alleging dangerous driving on October 7 in 2017. Warren was transporting around 40 passengers who had watched a high profile rugby league match in Manchester back to West Cumbria on a Reays coach.
Tracey Eve was sat next to her husband, Derek, as the vehicle made a downhill approach to Crosthwaite roundabout near Keswick on the A66. “It just picked up speed and didn’t brake,” she told jurors. Mrs Eve continued: “At that point my husband got up. He went to him (Warren) and he just told him to wake up.
“My husband grabbed the wheel and told him to brake.”
She told how the coach “bounced” on to the central island. It came to a halt bogged down in grass and mud at around 11-20pm.
The prosecution allege that, before then, Warren was showing “the signs of a man struggling to stay awake at the wheel”.
Another passenger, Lynn Porter, was disturbed from dozing by the bus moving between road lanes. Seated at the front of the coach, next to Warren, she shouted at him three times.
As the coach approached the roundabout it was “not slowing”, Mrs Porter recalled. “He was just so focused. He wasn’t blinking; he didn’t fall asleep or anything like that. He was just concentrating or staring ahead,” she said.
Asked by Warren’s barrister about that “focus”, Mrs Porter stated: “If he was focused on his driving he should have seen the roundabout.”
Warren, of Scotland Road, Carnforth, admits a careless driving charge. But he denies his conduct behind the wheel fell “far below” the standard expected of a careful and competent driver.
The trial continues.