[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Death crash driver admits charges
Bus crash
The bus ploughed down a crowded street
A bus driver who was at the controls of a double decker which killed five pedestrians in Lincs has admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

Stephen Topasna, 51, of Bridge Street, Louth, Lincs, admitted pressing the accelerator instead of the brake when moving out of a lay-by.

The incident took place on a road outside the Fantasy Island resort in Ingoldmells in April 2004.

Sentencing was adjourned but Topansa was told to expect a jail term.

Joanne Warren, 37, and her sons, five-year-old Jacob and four-month-old Leyton, of Leicester, were killed when the bus ploughed into them.

Defence dismissed

Fellow holidaymakers Paula Rhodes, 30, and her 33-year-old husband Richard, of Mansfield, Notts, also lost their lives in the incident.

Lincoln Crown Court had heard Topansa had pressed the accelerator by accident but then kept his foot jammed on the pedal in a panic as the vehicle careered down the crowded road.

His legal team had argued this effectively meant he had no control over the situation.

But this defence was dismissed by a high court judge and Topansa subsequently admitted the five charges.

Defective brakes

After "leaping forward" from the lay-by, the bus crossed a pedestrian crossing at red and struck three people and a car before the fatal collision.

Tests carried out by police later showed that by the time the bus at last came to a halt it had travelled 175 metres in 22 seconds.

The court heard Topansa had been a bus driver for almost 30 years but had never before driven either the route or the Volvo model involved in the tragedy.

Earlier this month the company that owned the bus, Lincolnshire RoadCar, was found guilty of operating a vehicle with a defective brakes.

The firm was fined 2,000 after magistrates in Skegness were told the "freak" fault did not contribute to the crash. It plans to appeal.




SEE ALSO:
Firm fined over death crash bus
08 Aug 05 |  Lincolnshire
Residents criticise safety scheme
07 Jun 05 |  Lincolnshire
Changes approved for crash site
28 Feb 05 |  Lincolnshire
'Full' ban wanted at death site
25 Jan 05 |  Nottinghamshire


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific