Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Bus Driver Jailed After Death Crash

A horrific crash between a bus and a van in Bootle left two people dead and both drivers being arrested, with one of them being sent to prison for three months. 

On 13th August 1942 at 730pm a Ribble bus and white can collided at the junction of Stanley Road and Merton Road. The impact was so great that the coach of the van was detached from the chassis and flung nearly a hundred feet down the road. 

Two people who worked for the Ministry of Labour and were passengers in the van were killed, one having been thrown from it and another crushed by the impact of hitting the ground. They were nineteen year old James Gray from Wallasey and James Cullen from Bidston.

A third passenger from the van only had minor injuries and was discharged from hospital that evening but the driver, Raymond Whalley, remained in hospital. The traffic lights had been taken out of service due to a request from the government to economise on electrical consumption. However eye witnesses said that both vehicles had been travelling at speed and neither appeared to be ready to slow down, the bus having gone straight past a bus stop. 

Both drivers were initially charged with manslaughter, with Whalley, being arrested on discharge from hospital. He claimed that he was driving slowly at the crossing and only accelerated to twenty five miles an hour in an attempt to avoid a collision. 

At a committal hearing on 19th October the case against Whalley was dismissed by the magistrates. Thomas O'Loughlin, the thirty five year old driver of the bus, was committed for trial and he was allowed bail. 

At the Manchester assizes on 9th December O'Loughlin, of Thomson Road in Seaforth, was found not guilty of manslaughter but convicted instead of dangerous driving. Mr Justice Stable jailed him for three months and told him that on account of his previous good record he would not take away his driving licence. He then commented that 'Neither the number of road casualties nor warnings have created that sense of responsibility that should be present in the mind of drivers and especially those of public vehicles.'

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