A bus driver who killed a grandmother has been forgiven by her family after he “suffered enough”
Kenneth Cherry didn’t check his blind spot ahead of a pedestrian crossing and caused “catastrophic injuries” to Audrey Williams, 63, after she was hit by the double-decker bus.
The 73-year-old driver of Burscough, West Lancashire, walked free from court after admitting causing death by careless driving.
But Ms Williams’ daughter Victoria described how she “felt for the poor bus driver”, the Liverpool Echo reports.
A statement read out to Liverpool Magistrates Court on her behalf said: “I feel for the poor bus driver. Unfortunately, accidents happen. He knows he is guilty and he has pleaded guilty.
“I strongly believe that the guilt he will feel for the rest of his life will be enough punishment – he has suffered enough.”
Ms Williams’ partner meanwhile was described as being ‘lost without her’.
The court heard Cherry was driving the 10A service between Liverpool and St Helens shortly before 11am on November 19 2020.
Approaching the bus depot, he stopped at a red light, slightly over the white line.
Ms Williams entered the crossing from the left as the light turned from red to amber.
The Highway Code states that a motorist cannot pass a junction until the lights return to green. But Cherry failed to look in this direction and began to drive off.
He knocked Ms Williams over and ran over her lower legs, leaving the pedestrian “screaming out in pain”.
She lost consciousness at the scene, with extensive CPR attempts performed by paramedics.
The grandmother was rushed to Whiston Hospital, but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards as a result of “severe and catastrophic” pelvic and leg injuries.
The driver stopped after the collision and admitted to police he had not checked the blind spot to his left before driving. He pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving during an earlier hearing.
Cherry, who has no previous convictions, has worked as a bus driver since he was 21, having previously been a conductor from the age of 19.
The widower is no longer employed by the company and has not driven since.
Defending, Peter Wilson told the court: “Mr Cherry had a near 50-year career driving buses or being on the buses. It’s something he found great pleasure in.
“To have this happen so late in his career and his life is something that will haunt him forever.
“He has made a terrible error of judgement and he has sleepless nights over it.
“All he can say is sorry. There’s nothing else Mr Cherry can do other than apologise.”
Cherry was spared an immediate jail term and was instead handed a 20-week imprisonment suspended for 18 months.
Sentencing, District Judge Timothy Boswell said: “Audrey Williams was a much-loved partner, step-mother and grandmother.
“She was there to be seen, and should have been seen by you. You did not check that side of the road before moving off.
“That error on your part would have catastrophic consequences. You are distraught about what happened and genuinely remorseful.
“Of course, you did not go out that day with any intention of driving badly.
“If you could change things, no doubt you would.
“But the standard of driving fell below that of a careful and competent driver. Nothing I can do can reflect the pain and friend felt by Ms Williams’ family.
“It’s clear how loved she was and the impact her passing has had on those around her.
The family bravely recognise that you too have suffered and will live with the guilt for the rest of your life.
“Character references speak very highly of you. One referee worries you will never get over this or forgive yourself.
“There seems to be very little, if any, chance of this happening again.”
Cherry was also handed 100 hours of unpaid work, banned from driving for two years and told to pay a £128 victim surcharge plus £85 in court costs.