Home Crime Crime Other Pit ‘Bus Mishap – Teacher at the Wheel – Bench’s Serious View

Pit ‘Bus Mishap – Teacher at the Wheel – Bench’s Serious View

January 1929

Mexborough and Swinton Times January 18, 1929

Pit ‘Bus Mishap.
Teacher at the Wheel
Bench’s Serious View

A Bolton-on-Dearne school teacher was summoned at Doncaster on Tuesday for driving a, motor ‘bus dangerousiy. The defendant was James Charles Walford, of Mexborough Road, Bolton on Dearne, who was stated to be acting as a relief driver. He pleaded not guilty and was represented by Mr. H. Morris, of Sheffield.

Supt Minty said that at 9 p.m. on Dec. 3 defendant was driving a ‘bus containing a number miners at Adwick-on-Dearne. Near Manvers Main Colliery he drove into three miners who were walking close to the wall. Two of them, Robert Wake and Albert Holbrook, of ‘Mexboro’, were injured, and it was believed that Holbrook’s injuries would be permanent. It was alleged that the accident was due to the fact that the lighting of the ‘bus was inadequate.

John Cliff, miner, of Albert Road, Mexborough, said he was walking with Wake and Holbrook on the near side of the road close to the wall, about 200 yards from Manvers Bridge, when they were knocked down with out warning. Holbrook was knocked unconscious, and Wake was dazed, but witness was not injured, as Wake knocked against him and pushed him forward. Witness called upon defendant to stop, and he pulled up within about 25 yards. Defendant helped him to put Holbrook and Wake into another ‘bus to take them to Dr. Ram’s surgery. Afterwards they were taken to Mexborough Hospital.

When they were in the. surgery defendant said he was “bamboozled” by the shadows on the wall where the accident took place and by having to pull out to allow another ‘bus to pass.

In reply to Mr. Morris, witness said they were walking abreast. He did not remember saying to the driver, several times, “You are not to blame, lad.”

Mr. Morris: There were people who were there and heard you say it.

Witness: People who say they heard me say it are liars.

John Senior, miner, said he boarded “Evans’s ‘bus” at Mexboro’, but was unable 1 to say whether defendant was the driver. There were about ten or twelve miners in the ‘bus, aii4, the lights were bad inside and out. The conductor was riding on the running board, apparently with the object of keeping a look-out.          At the point of the .accident witness heard a bump, and the ‘bus travelled a further 50 yards or so, when someone said, “it’s all right, it’s only a tyre gone.” He saw only one light, on the off-side, in front of the ‘bus.

At this stage the chairman (Mr. G. E. Cooke-Yarborough ) interposed and said that without pre-judging the case the magistrates thought that the evidence as far as it had gone, disclosed an offence much more serious than that with which the defendant was charged.

The magistrates were of opinion that it was time that more severe steps were taken in cases of this kind if proved. So far as the evidence had gone it showed that the ‘bus was being driven with such inadequate lights that the driver was unable to detect men walking on the road a short distance in front, as a result of which one man had been seriously injured, perhaps for life. It was not sufficient, if these facts were proved, to charge a man with driving dangerously, and the magistrates would therefore adjourn the case and instruct the police to consider whether they should not charge the defendant with actual bodily harm. He was not sure whether the owners, as responsible for the lights, should not be charged also.

Supt, Minty said he had been impressed with the number of cases recently in which serious accidents had occurred as a result of insufficient lighting of vehicles.

Mr. Morris said he considered he had a perfect answer to the charge of dangerous driving, and it might he that the Bench, when they heard it would consider it a satisfactory explanation.

The Chairman : That may be so. It may be that the defendant will be aquitted of both charges.