Driver: Bus from fatal Offaly crash was due service a week later

Michael White

The driver of a school bus that crashed in Co Offaly, resulting in the death of a 15-year-old boy has told a court the vehicle was scheduled for a service overhaul.

Westmeath vehicle testing company O'Reilly Commercials Ltd of Ballinalach, Mullingar are charged with failing to note defects in the 1989 Mercedes bus when they tested it in 2005.

The owners of Clara Cabs, Raymond and Ruairí McKeown, both of River St., Clara, Co Offaly are charged with failing to maintain the bus leading to the death of the schoolboy Michael White.

Bus driver Ger Buckley has told the jury the school bus was off the road for 10 to 12 weeks for engine repairs before he started driving it in February 2006.

He said the bus had 33 passenger seats but he would pick up about 35 students on the run to and from Killina Presentation School.

The court heard that about two weeks before the crash, he informed his employers the McKeowns that a student had heard banging from the back of the bus.

He has given evidence that he was told the bus would be going in for a service in the school holidays – about a week after the accident.

The driver has described the back axle coming off the bus and seeing 15-year-old Michael White lying under the vehicle after it overturned in a ditch. The teenager suffered catastrophic injuries and died.

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