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Coach owner and driver to be sentenced after boy fell on to motorway.

Byline: Liz Day Reporter

A DRIVER and coach owner will be sentenced next month after a schoolboy from South Wales fell from a moving bus onto a motorway.

The boy, from the Bridgend area, was with friends and family on a youth rugby team tour when he leaned against the emergency exit and it swung open.

Driver Tudor West, 62, and coach owner Kevin Jones, 63, will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court after being convicted of charges relating to dangerous driving.

The jury heard that the boy suffered multiple injuries after the faulty coach emergency exit door flew open and threw him onto a motorway.

He desperately clung to the door, but lost his grip and fell onto the M49 and was lucky not to have been hit by following vehicles.

The court heard the boy, sitting three rows from the back, leaned against the emergency exit, but did not touch the handle, which was only accessible from the seat behind.

The exit door swung open and the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fell out of the coach which was carrying around 35 passengers.

Stephen Dent, prosecuting, told the jury the door opened as a result of a "botched job", leaving the latch ineffective.

He said: "The boy fell out of the emergency exit of the coach which was taking him, his friends and some family to a rugby tournament.

"He fell on to the motorway but luckily the car behind managed to slow down and stop before hitting him. Amazingly he was not too badly injured."

The court heard the incident happened on May 16 last year, while the coach was travelling from Bridgend to Brean in Somerset.

Coach passenger Lisa Evans, told the court: "The first thing I saw was the emergency door swing open.

"As it did I could see a boy holding on to side of the door. It was quite surreal at the time.

"It was definitely a kid so I turned to the driver and told him to stop the bus. The door just opened.

"After [the boy] stopped bouncing and rolling across the road he was in the outside lane. By the time we stopped he was quite a distance back."

The boy suffered a broken wrist and multiple cuts and bruises after he tumbled from the coach after crossing the Second Severn Crossing at 7pm.

He spent three days in hospital and was forced to take time off school to recover.

The driver, Tudor West, denied one charge of dangerous driving. The owner of the coach, Kevin Jones, denied a single count of aiding and abetting dangerous driving.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 28, 2015
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