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Bus driver found guilty of crushing Highland pensioner by driving dangerously

By Ali Morrison

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Inverness Justice Centre.
Inverness Justice Centre.

A bus driver crushed an elderly man against his own car as he pulled out of a car park.

In the first remote jury trial held at the Inverness Justice Centre, with the jury itself in Eden Court Theatre, Nigel Dunn was found guilty by a majority of dangerous driving in connection with the incident which occurred on March 22, 2017 in Carrbridge.

Sentence was deferred until March 11 for background reports and Dunn was disqualified from driving meantime.

Dunn, of Muirton Place, Boat of Garten, had denied driving his Stagecoach bus dangerously in a Carrbridge car park on March 22, 2017, and seriously injuring Mr Crichton, then 74.

At the time of the incident, Mr Crichton was working for the Harry Fairbairn Inverness franchise and suffered a double fracture to his pelvis and damage to his intestine, spending weeks in hospital and rehabilitation afterwards.

The five-day trial heard Dunn (53) had exchanged words with Mr Crichton, now 78, prior to him returning from a toilet visit.

The elderly motorist had parked in front of Dunn’s coach, close to a junction to be nearer to the toilet building as he returned to Inverness from Aberdeen.

Mr Crichton was squashed between his car and the bus as it moved off while he was walking to board his vehicle. He was rolled along the side of his Kia Sportage before falling and sustaining a head injury.

Fiscal depute David Morton asked the jury to convict Dunn of dangerous driving, saying Mr Crichton’s inconsiderate parking did not absolve the bus driver of his responsibilities.

“He was not aware of his surroundings and drove dangerously,” he said. “He didn’t watch that blind spot. It was all over in two seconds. He passed Mr Crichton, knew he was there because he had a schedule to keep.

“This was not a tragic accident with no-one to blame, it was a piece of criminal driving.”

Nigel Beaumont, defending, had argued that it was Mr Crichton who was at fault.

“When Mr Crichton came back from the toilet, he stood at the rear of his vehicle,” he said. “Mr Dunn made the perfectly reasonable assumption that he was waiting for the bus to go and decided to get his bus out of its predicament caused by Mr Crichton’s inconsiderate and dangerous parking.

“Mr Crichton was not in danger at the rear of his car and then decided to move, completely wrongly and dangerously, and did not consider the back of the bus leaving less space, with horrendous consequences for him. Mr Dunn cannot be looking backwards at the same time as looking forwards. How does that fit with dangerous driving?”

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