A Sheffield bus driver whose 'careless' driving led to a crash that killed one teen and left another fighting for his life has been put behind bars, after a judge ruled he had enough time to avoid the young couple.
Judge Paul Watson QC sentenced Paul Andrew Brown, aged 51, of Cannon Hall Road, Fir Vale, to 10 months in prison after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving after the crash on Haymarket, Sheffield city centre, that killed 15-year-old Summer Seymour.
The crash on December 11, 2015, also left Summer’s boyfriend Jake Ford, now 18, with life threatening injuries.
The court was told how the young couple were crossing the road when the crash took place and would have been visible to Brown, who had just finished a shift working on the First 98 bus, for around six seconds before he collided with them.
Prosecutor Gordon Stables told the court how in the run up to the horror crash, Brown’s ‘attention was not fully on his driving’.
CCTV footage from inside the bus revealed how in the five minutes prior to the collision taking place Brown used his phone while moving, logged off the ticket machine and put his phone back into his breast pocket. He had finished using the phone and ticket machine at the time of the collision.
Judge Watson told Brown: “You were distracted by something other than your driving.
“It seems to me that both of your victims were in full view for a significant amount of time. I am not sure whether if it was six seconds matters, there was time for you to take avoiding action.”
CCTV from the scene showed the road was clear when the young couple went to cross the road and they were about three-quarters of the way across when the collision took place.
Paramedics were already nearby attending another emergency incident at Wilko’s when the crash took place – but despite their best efforts Summer died at the scene.
Jake suffered a number of injuries in the crash including multiple rib fractures, lung lacerations and a fractured clavicle and vertebrae.
The 18-year-old has continuing issues with back pain, urinary problems and has had to have his home adapted and a stairlift fitted.
In a heartbreaking victim impact statement read out in court, Jake said: “I just feel empty. Completely torn apart. Going from having everything, total independence, just started my life, just literally got a job and had the most beautiful girlfriend in the world and I had so much going for me.”
David McGonigal, defending, said Brown had not seen the young couple before hitting them and that he had expressed genuine remorse for his actions.
Brown, who lost his job with First as a result of the collision, was also disqualified from driving for 17 months. Kevin Belfield, managing director at First South Yorkshire, said: “I’m aware of the verdict and my thoughts remain with Summer’s family and with Jake and his family at this very difficult time.”