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Bus on wrong side of road when it hit Garston teen Jan Henney in Garston Lane, court hears
The bus, which fatally struck Garston teenager Jan Henney, was driving in the wrong side of the road when the accident happened, a jury has been told.
The driver, Raymond Clark, said he moved into the on-coming lane, in Garston Lane, as vehicles parked close to a traffic island were blocking his path.
However at the opening of his trial at Harrow Crown Court yesterday, prosecutors said the 70-year-old could have manoeuvred the bus through on the right side of the road had he slowed down and assessed the gap.
Jan was struck by the single-decker bus after stepping out from behind a silver Vauxhall Corsa.
The court heard she did not see the bus as she was looking the other way, at the expected flow of traffic.
The 18-year-old Parmiter’s School pupil was initially taken to Watford General Hospital, before being transferred for specialist care at St Mary's Hospital in London.
She died in hospital a few days later.
Clark, of Lincoln Drive, Croxley Green, denies causing death by dangerous driving.
Yesterday the jury was told that Clark, who had been a bus driver since March 2002, had been working for Arriva for eight hours a day, four days a week, at the time of the accident.
On the day, January 17 last year, he saw there was a delivery van and a car parked in Garston Lane which he judged to be partly blocking the passage of the bus.
To get around them Clark went on the other side of the road and around the keep left bollards in the centre of the road.
The jury was read extracts of Clark’s interview with PC Andrew Ralph, from the Beds and Herts investigation collision unit, shortly after the accident.
Under questioning, Clark said he did not see any pedestrians at all on that side of the road when he decided in to go around the bollards.
He added: "As the bus proceeded a person became apparent and walked out into the road."
Clark said he braked "very hard" but he was unable to stop the bus before hitting Jan.
After the accident he said he immediately got off the bus and dialled 999.
In the interview, PC Ralph told Clark that the keep left bollards were "there for a reason".
He also told Clark that as the bus was 2.5 metres wide, and the gap was 3.4 metres wide, there was enough space for it to get through.
Floral tributes left at the scene of the fatal accident.
Clark said in the interview that in hindsight he should have assessed the width of the gap and not have gone on the wrong side of the road.
He added: "In hindsight I would not have dreamed of doing that again."
Experts believe Clark was not driving over the speed limit at the time and estimate he was travelling at around 20mph.
Prosecutor, Rose Burns, told the jury Clark would have seen that there was enough room if he had slowed down and assessed the size of the gap.
The trial continues.