Bus driver escapes conviction

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 14:50 26/11/2012
Thelma knocked over
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

Thelma Symons was hit by a bus in Hamilton earlier this year.

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A bus driver who knocked an elderly woman over at a Hamilton intersection has escaped a conviction.

Graeme Rex Brown, 60, of Auckland, was today successful in his bid for a discharge without conviction after pleading guilty to a charge of careless driving causing injury in the Hamilton District Court after the incident on January 11, this year.

Thelma Symons, 86, was walking to her local shoe shop about 9.40am and began crossing at the Bryce and Anglesea St intersection - outside the Hamilton i-Site Visitor Centre - when Brown’s Naked Bus slowly began turning left onto Anglesea St.

Mrs Symons was hit by the bus, knocking her forward and falling conscious, breaking her wrist and elbow.

The police summary of facts noted that there were several road works in the area at the time which made maneuvering the intersection ‘‘a little more difficult than usual’’.

Brown proceeded to move his bus to make a left hand turn after waiting for pedestrians to cross.

It was then that a passenger noticed Mrs Symons and alerted Brown who slammed on the brakes straight away.

However, Judge Denise Clark agreed with police that it appeared to be the bus’s momentum that carried it forward enough to knock Mrs Symons over.

She accepted Brown had immediately stopped the bus and ran to her aid and tried to get hold of her but didn’t have any luck due to privacy issues.

Brown’s counsel said his employer, the Naked Bus Company, had held his job open and said he could keep it as long as he was successful in obtaining a discharge without conviction, and get his licence back.

Brown was also remorseful and offered $1000 emotional harm to Mrs Symons.

Mrs Symons was unaware the case was in court yesterday, but was pleased to hear she would receive some financial compensation after notching up several bills.

It had also be stressful as she was the sole carer of her husband, John, who was blind.

She was still of the view that Brown would have seen her and the light was still green for her cross.

She hoped he would be more careful in the future.

‘‘So long as he watches the lights next time.’’

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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