A JURY took just 14 minutes to clear a bus driver over the death of an 18-year-old man who was knocked down and killed at a crossing near Wakefield city centre.
Brian Knowles, 58, wept as the jury of seven men and five women returned a verdict of not guilty of causing death by careless driving yesterday after a three- day trial at Leeds Crown Court.
Mr Knowles faced the charge after Scott Reynolds was killed in the incident at the pelican crossing on Marsh Way on December 10 2010.
After the case, Mr Knowles’s barrister Philip Morris said: “The fact that he has been found not guilty in no way deviates from the profound sorrow that he has felt, not only for Scott but for members of his family. He is extremely relieved that the process is now at an end.”
Mr Reynolds is thought to have been on his way to his mother’s house when the collision happened at 5.40pm. The teenager crossed the road while the traffic lights were on green and the Arriva bus had right of way. The incident was caught on CCTV and shown to the jury.
The prosecution claimed that although Mr Reynolds was partly to blame for the collision, Mr Knowles’s reaction was below the standard of a “competent and careful” driver.
An expert accident investigator said Mr Knowles would have had around four seconds to see Mr Reynolds in front of him and react.
Mr Knowles, of Whitehall Rise, St Johns, Wakefield, was visibly distressed as he gave evidence.
He told the court he was a senior member of the driving staff and had 19 years experience. Before that he had worked as a pit deputy at Sharlston colliery before becoming a bus driver.
He said the incident happened during his last journey of the day and the city centre was packed with Christmas shoppers. He was taking a slight detour along Marsh Way in order to avoid heavy traffic on Northgate when the accident occurred.
Asked by Mr Morris if he thought he could have done anything else to avoid the collision, Mr Knowles replied: “I don’t think so or I would have done it.”
Asked how often he had thought the incident, he said: “Every day. It’s just going over and over all the time.”