Bus driver jailed over crash that killed couple

Stephen JonesImage copyright
Ciaran Donnelly

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Stephen Jones repeatedly drove a service bus on to the opposite carriageway on the B792

A bus driver who caused the death of a couple after driving dangerously on to the wrong side of the road has been jailed for three years.

Stephen Jones, 57, drove too fast for the road layout before failing to negotiate a bend and driving into the path of an oncoming Vauxhall Corsa.

Ian McKay, 78, and his wife Helen McKay, 79, from Bathgate, died from their injuries.

A 78-year-old passenger on the bus was also seriously injured.

  • Bus driver caused crash that killed couple

The crash happened on the B792 Torphichen to West Calder road in West Lothian on 8 January 2019.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Doherty said the “gravity of the offence” required a custodial sentence.

The judge said he took into account that Jones being dazzled by the sun was a contributory factor to the tragedy that unfolded.

But the judge said that it must have been plain there was a risk of being dazzled but he did not moderate his speed.

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The crash happened on the B792 Torphichen to West Calder road

Lord Doherty said: “On a number of occasions in the lead up to the collision on the road between Torphichen and West Calder you failed to keep to your own carriageway and drove on to the opposite carriageway.

“In my view, your conduct in the lead up to the collision gave rise to significant danger and it involved significant culpability on your part. That conduct caused two deaths and the serious injury of a third person,” he said.

Lord Doherty told Jones that he would have jailed him for four and a half years, but for his guilty plea.

He also banned him from driving for four years and eight months and told him he would have to pass an extended test before driving again.

The single decker bus, operated by EM Horsburgh, was on a route from Livingston to Linlithgow.

At a earlier hearing, footage of the lead up to the crash was shown to the court.

It included efforts by Mr McKay to avoid the collision as he steered towards the edge of the B792.

Both vehicles ended up in a field.

Defence solicitor advocate Ewen Roy said Jones accepted full responsibility for the accident and the consequent loss of life.

He added: “He has been assessed as genuinely remorseful. The concerns expressed by him are for others and not for himself.”

BBC News