Bus driver cleared over fatal crash
A BUS driver accused of causing death by dangerous driving has spoken of his relief after he was cleared of the charge.Following a week-long trial, a jury at Ipswich Crown Court took just 20 minutes to return not guilty verdicts on Robert Lacey, of Jocelyn Close in Bury St Edmunds.
A BUS driver accused of causing death by dangerous driving has spoken of his relief after he was cleared of the charge.
Following a week-long trial, a jury at Ipswich Crown Court took just 20 minutes to return not guilty verdicts on Robert Lacey, of Jocelyn Close in Bury St Edmunds.
The 47-year-old closed his eyes and sighed with relief as he was cleared of the death by dangerous driving charge, and an alternative charge of driving without due care and attention.
Mr Lacey was arrested after the bus he was driving was involved in a crash which killed 77-year-old John Wills, from Stowupland, in April last year.
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It had been alleged that he was speeding and trying to make up time before the accident, in Newton Road, Stowmarket, but he vehemently denied doing so.
Speaking to the EADT shortly after the verdicts had been returned, Mr Lacey said: “I'm very relieved - it's been a very tough time for me.”
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He added: “I feel great sympathy for the family of Mr Wills.”
Mr Lacey was driving a First Eastern single-decker bus from Stowmarket towards Old Newton when it was involved in a collision with Mr Wills' silver Citroen ZX, which was travelling in the opposite direction.
During the trial, Mr Lacey told the court that he was not speeding before the crash, and said if he could repeat the day over again there was nothing he could have done to avoid the collision.
He added: “My driving was fine. As far as I am aware it was without fault. I would not accept it was dangerous or careless.”
The trial also heard that after his arrest Mr Lacey told police that, as he drove along Newton Road, he had slowed down when a coach travelling in the opposite direction passed him.
He added: “When I went past the coach I slowed down to 20 or 25 mph at most and moved slightly to the left so that I did not clip his wing mirrors.
“I had just passed it when I noticed a silver car slightly on my side of the road.”
And, refuting the prosecution's speeding allegations, Mr Lacey said: “I was not going too fast for the conditions that I was driving in and when I approached the coach I was driving at a safe speed.”
After the hearing, Mr Wills' son Dennis released a short statement on behalf of the family.
It said: “Having been in court throughout the trial we would like to say thank you to all the witnesses who have given evidence.
“This has enabled us to understand exactly how dad died, which is more important than any sentence being given to the bus driver.”