Stowmarket/Norwich: Bus driver fined after his vehicle crashed into flower shop because he failed to properly apply handbrake
16:33 10 July 2014
A bus crashed into a flower shop after its driver failed to apply the handbrake properly and got out leaving the engine running.
The driver, Daniel White, must pay a total of £470 in fines and costs after he was summonsed to appear before Ipswich magistrates.
The 40-year-old admitted a charge of leaving a motor vehicle unattended without the engine being stopped and the parking brake set.
The collision occurred at Edelweiss in Bury Street, Stowmarket, two days before Valentine’s Day this year.
One passenger was on the single decker bus at the time, but was uninjured. No one was in the shop when the incident happened at 7.50pm on February 12.
However, the owner of Edelweiss Isabel Wilton said the premises remains structurally unsound five months on and the business is having to be run from her other shop, Noble and White, across the road.
The cost of repairing the damaged property is still unknown, but is likely to be substantial.
It was complicated by the discovery of asbestos in the building which has had to be removed before the structural work can begin.
The accident has had a big impact on Mrs Wilton’s businesses.
The 69-year-old said: “We were two days from Valentine’s Day which is one of the busiest times of the year and we were already stretched to our limits working 18 hours a day. However, we managed to fulfil all of our orders.
“It is extremely difficult because putting two shops into one is not easy but we have managed to do it. It has meant a tremendous amount of extra work to continue doing what we have done for the last 44 years.
“It has to have a financial impact.
“The damage (to the building) is extensive. I think it is probably much worse than anybody thought at the beginning. We have no idea what the cost is going to be for the repairs or the length of time it’s going to take to repair the building.
“We appreciate how much support we have had from our customers. People have been very concerned and supportive.”
White, of Hillmead, Norwich, has since left First Buses, although the company declined to say if was as a result the collision.
However, Lucy Wright, a spokeswoman for First Group, said:”We have concluded our investigations and we can confirm that the driver is no longer employed by First Eastern Counties.
“All of our vehicles are checked every 28 days and we can confirm that we found no faults with the vehicle upon inspection.
“Incidents such as this should not happen. Our drivers are trained to the highest standards and we apologise for the distress and inconvenience this has caused.”