Bus driver charged over fatal smash

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014

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A bus driver has been charged with careless driving causing death after a collision at a busy Hamilton intersection on December 30 last year.

Graham Clothier and his partner Lynelle Bray drove into the Hamilton intersection of Te Rapa Rd, Victoria St, Ulster St, and Forest Lake Rd about 4.40pm.

Bray was at the wheel of his vehicle when an Northern Connector bus slammed into her.

Clothier said he knew his beloved was dead as they sat in the wreckage afterwards.

His right arm was broken in five places and a segment of bone was so badly damaged it had to be removed. There are plates, pins and screws holding it together now.

A bus passenger also fell from a seat and broke two ribs, Clothier said.

Police confirmed yesterday that the female bus driver had been charged with careless driving causing death, as well as two counts of careless driving causing injury.

Clothier spoke out about the accident in February because the driver was back behind the wheel while the police investigated the crash.

She was employed by Pavlovich Coachlines, which is contracted to the Waikato Regional Council.

At the time, Pavlovich Coachlines chief executive Bernard Pavlovich said he had three options regarding the driver - stand her down without pay, stand her down with pay or get her driving again.

To stand her down with pay would be an inference of guilt, he said.

He was not prepared to comment yesterday.

"I don't really understand what your interest in this is and I don't think my contributing to the conversation is helping, good luck," he said.

When pushed, he said he was not prepared to comment about whether the driver was still at the wheel of a Waikato Regional Council-funded bus.

When asked why not he said: "Because it's my prerogative and I'm answerable to myself and my shareholders, not to you."

Later, regional council communications adviser Wendy Valois said the driver was no longer working on any of their bus services.

The driver is due to appear in the Hamilton District Court next week.

Clothier said both he and Bray's family members will be in court for the driver's appearance.

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- The Dominion Post

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