Jan Henney trial: Bus driver searched 'diligently' before moving onto wrong side of road (From Watford Observer)
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Jan Henney trial: Bus driver, Raymond Clark, searched 'diligently' before moving onto wrong side of road
The driver of the bus which fatally hit Garston teenager Jan Henney told a jury he searched around "diligently" before going onto the other side of the road to avoid parked vehicles obstructing his way.
Raymond Clark, 70, was driving the Arriva single-decker bus which struck the Parmiter’s School pupil as she stepped out from behind a car last January.
The 18-year-old died of her injuries in hospital days after the crash in Garston Lane.
Clark, of Lincoln Drive, Croxley Green, denies causing death by dangerous driving.
Earlier in the trial, which started on Monday, the court heard Clark drove on the wrong side of the road as he felt a lorry and car parked near bollards were obstructing his way.
Location of the fatal collision.
However the prosecution argue there was enough space for the bus to manoeuvre through, which Clark would have realised had he slowed down.
Yesterday the jury was shown CCTV from the bus of the accident after which Clark was questioned about the moments leading up to the fatal collision.
Clark said that once he saw his path was restricted by a delivery truck and a white Audi, he thought it would be a better option to go around the other side of the traffic island.
He said: "I searched very diligently to see if there were any pedestrians around and there were none."
Clark said the first time he noticed someone nearby was when he saw the top of Jan’s head appearing round the behind the Vauxhall Corsa.
He said: "Initially the young lady seemed as though she decided to walk away from the direction of the bus. She was walking at an angle away from the crossing.
"Momentarily I felt encouraged that I would be able to stop in time but I swung the bus fiercely and firmly to the left, realising I was going to hit the island."
Clark became emotional and started to weep as he recounted moments leading up to the crash. He added: "I almost missed her but the front of the windscreen hit the front of her head and then she staggered forward."
Clark told the court he thought for a moment she was going to be alright, but then she collapsed to the ground.
The bus driver then called the emergency services as people gathered around to tend to Jan.
He said at that point he just "lost it" and went to sit on a wall as he was "shaking like a leaf".
The pensioner, who had worked at Arriva since 2002, was dismissed immediately after the incident.
Yesterday the court heard that, while Clark was not driving in excess of the 30 miles per hour speed limit, he could have slowed down to manoeuvre the bus through the gap on the correct side of the road.
Experts believe Clark was travelling at around 20mph at around the time of the crash.
The jury, which was made up of three men and nine women, heard Jan did not see the bus as she was looking the other way, at the expected flow of traffic.
Edward Peachment, a now retired police officer from Hertfordshire Constabulary who investigated the crash said CCTV show Jan was "crossing with caution".
Speaking for Clark’s defence, Henry Hargrave, said Clark had a limited amount of time and that a "judgement had to be made very quickly".
However, Mr Peachment responded: "The length of time you need to make the judgement is down to the driver.
"The amount of time he has got is as much as he needs. If the road was blocked then, surely, he would have stopped."
The trial continues.