A jury has decided that the bus operator Bluebird Buses Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Stagecoach, must pay substantial damages to a former school pupil injured in a bus crash in October 2010.
Cheryl Forbes was injured when the double-decker bus carrying her and over 30 fellow pupils from Mearns Academy overturned in high winds on Garvock Hill near Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire. Cheryl and 6 other children were hospitalised. Bluebird had recently been awarded the contract to transport the children over a rival firm and had decided to use double decker buses. This decision was made by the company despite repeated warnings from parents about weather conditions on parts of the route.
Gavrock Hill is well known for its high winds and the previous bus operator had only ever used single decker buses. Bluebird assured parents that on days when the weather was windy only single decker buses would be used. But despite these assurances on the 1st of October 2010 when the accident occurred a double decker bus was used when wind speed in the area was high.
On an exposed section of the route on Gavrock Hill the bus overturned, ditching into a neighbouring field and landing on its side. Of the 34 children on board 19 were injured, 6 so seriously that they had to be transferred to hospital. One of the hospitalised children was 17 year old Cheryl Forbes. She suffered injuries to her legs and hands as well as head and face injuries and a broken collar bone. She had to undergo surgery to repair the damage. Cheryl was forced to miss exams, her driving test and had to give up her part time job. She had to be cared for full time by her mum as she couldn’t even manage to dress herself.
Speaking about her ordeal Cheryl said “When I look back on things now I can remember the bus overturning and everyone screaming. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. When the bus landed on its side I was thrown down violently and the pain from my collar bone was excruciating. It took me a long time to get over what happened and I still can’t travel by bus. I just can’t understand why the company insisted on using a double decker bus when all of our parents had raised concerns.
Cheryl’s lawyer, Syd Smith from Thompsons Solicitors, said “A Double decker bus should never have been used that day. Assurances from the company that they would monitor the weather did not happen that day and it’s only by sheer luck that this accident did not have a more tragic outcome.”
Link to BBC News Article : Damages for injured Bluebird bus crash pupil