A Go Bus driver was stood down yesterday after his bus hit a boy on a footpath near Karitane on Thursday, but the company admits it should have acted sooner.
Some Karitane residents were “appalled” the driver was initially allowed to return to work the day after hitting Tawera Montgomery , 16.
Monty Montgomery said his son Tawera was walking on a grass verge in Stornaway Street just before 5.30pm on Thursday, when he turned to see a Go Bus travelling towards him.
The public bus crossed the footpath and hit Tawera’s backpack, “flicking” him into cold water in a ditch.
“He was centimetres away from tragedy,” Mr Montgomery said.
Tawera got out of the ditch to check on bus occupants and found only the driver was inside.
Tawera was taken by ambulance to Dunedin Hospital emergency department with minor to moderate injuries.
Mr Montgomery was concerned the driver returned to work yesterday.
He said he should have been stood down immediately until an investigation was done. Go Bus operations director Nigel Piper said the company was treating the crash “very seriously” and had contacted the Montgomery family.
“We are thankful that no major injuries were incurred.”
The driver was removed from service until further notice at 12.30pm yesterday.
“We accept that the driver should not have resumed work this morning, despite there being no particular signs that he was unfit to drive.
“The community can be assured the incident will be fully and thoroughly investigated, and we would be happy to hear from any witnesses to the incident.”
Stornaway Street resident Rowan Holt saw Tawera, who she knew, get hit by the bus and heard him scream. She found Tawera “soaked, freezing and in shock”.
Her daughter Brook (12) had caught a public Go Bus from Karitane to school yesterday and texted her mother to say the same driver involved in the crash was behind the wheel, Mrs Holt said.
Mrs Holt texted her daughter to get off the bus as soon as possible.
The driver should not have been working yesterday and should be required to undergo a full medical examination to prove he was fit to drive, Mrs Holt said.
“I’m absolutely appalled.”
Senior constable Lesley Eason, of Waikouaiti, said the driver told police the accident occurred when he attempted to pick up an item he had dropped.
Alcohol was not a factor and no witnesses had told police the driver was speeding, she said.
Inquiries were continuing and no charges had been laid, she said.
Otago Daily Times