Passengers say bus 'not in very good condition' before fatal Offaly crash

Michael White

Passengers on a school bus that went out of control and crashed in Co Offaly, leaving one teenager dead, have told a court the vehicle was lopsided and not in very good condition.

Fifteen-year-old Michael White died after suffering "catastrophic injuries" in the accident near Clara on April 4, 2006.

Killian Fleming, a fifth-year student at Killina Presentation School at the time of the crash, has given evidence that the school bus was not very well maintained.

He said there was a loud bang coming home from school the evening before the crash.

One former pupil has given evidence the bus was lopsided, while another student at the time has told the jury the seats were loose and the vehicle was not in great condition.

Westmeath vehicle testing company O'Reilly Commercials Ltd of Ballinalach, Co Westmeath is charged with failing to note defects in the 1989 Mercedes bus when they tested it the year before the accident.

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

All charges are denied.

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