January 26, 2022

the school bus driver sent back to correctional facilities, four years after the accident

Six schoolchildren were killed in the collision of this bus with a TER, at the Millas level crossing, on December 14, 2017.

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The judges in charge of the investigation into the fatal accident of a school bus in Millas (Pyrénées-Orientales) ordered the dismissal of the driver before the criminal court for “involuntary homicides and injuries”, France Televisions learned on Monday January 11 . Six college students were killed and 17 others injured in the collision of this bus with a TER on a level crossing on December 14, 2017.

“There is no doubt that the inattention and recklessness of the driver are the direct and certain cause of the accident: by not taking into account the closed nature of the level crossing and by forcing, at the wheel of its bus, the half-barrier closed of the said level crossing, it precipitated the percussion of its bus by a train which circulated regularly “, write the magistrates in their conclusions.

The driver has said since the accident that the barriers were open at the time of the collision, blaming SNCF. If the investigating judges recognize that “There is a majority of testimonies attesting to a level crossing open at the time of the accident”, they give more credit to the two maintenance technicians who were stationary in their vehicle, on the other side of the level crossing.

“Their statements attest to a level crossing which worked perfectly”, they explain in the 158-page long referral order. The magistrates also cite five expertises which “clearly establish the absence of a level crossing malfunction and / or hypothesize that the level crossing is closed”.

The intentional character was not retained by the examining magistrates. A dismissal was pronounced against the counts of “deliberate endangering the life of others” and “deliberate violation of a safety obligation imposed by law”. A hearing is scheduled for April 29 at the Marseille court, seat of the collective accidents division responsible for this case.