Bus driver may have to undergo safety course after low bridge crash

The roof of the bus was ripped off when it hit the rail bridge at Portchester
The roof of the bus was ripped off when it hit the rail bridge at Portchester

Portsmouth coastguard called to reports of a body near Chichester

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THE driver of a double-decker bus that crashed into a low bridge will not be arrested by police – but may have to take a safer driving course.

Hampshire Constabulary has confirmed that the male driver will not face prosecution over the dramatic incident in Portchester, which unfolded on Wednesday afternoon.

The First Bus smashed into the low railway bridge over Station Road, ripping the entire top deck off in the process.

Luckily, the bus was out of service and the driver was left shaken by the incident.

No-one else was on board at the time.

The News understands the crash caused £50,000-worth of damage to the bus.

First Bus said it would carry out a full investigation into the incident but there is still no outcome.

A spokesman for the firm said: ‘We investigate all incidents thoroughly and this process is still under way.’

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary added: ‘No arrests will be made in relation to this incident.

‘The driver has been interviewed about the circumstances and there are no plans to arrest him or charge him with any offence.

‘In cases such as this, it might be that the driver is referred to a specialist course focusing on safe driving.’

Fareham Borough Council’s Portchester East representative, Cllr Geoff Fazackarley, said there was ‘no excuse’ for a double-decker bus to hit a low bridge.

Cllr Fazackarley is a bus driver for Eastleigh-based firm Black Velvet and has driven buses for 20 years.

He is also the council’s spokesman for public protection. He said: ‘I am just grateful there wasn’t anyone hurt.

‘You have to be aware of what you are driving. Whether you are in a small Rover or a Jaguar, you have to be aware of what you are doing on the road – there’s no excuse for it. You can try and find excuses for him but I can’t.

‘A thorough investigation needs to be carried out. There’s so much traffic on the road now and cyclists riding off pavements, and you have to concentrate at all times.

‘That’s what you do as a professional.’

Portchester West representative Cllr David Norris added: ‘It’s not the first time something like this has happened. It was lucky that no one was hurt.

‘The police should investigate as well to see what’s happened here.’