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Woman trapped as Luas impaled bus in crash, court told

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The scene on O’Connell Street, Dublin, on September 16,
2009, following the crash between the tram and the bus.

The scene on O’Connell Street, Dublin, on September 16, 2009, following the crash between the tram and the bus.

The driver of the Luas, Oriyomi Emmanuel (right), denies the unsafe
operation of the tram at the Middle Abbey Street junction.

The driver of the Luas, Oriyomi Emmanuel (right), denies the unsafe operation of the tram at the Middle Abbey Street junction.

Paul Bonney: bus driver said he saw the tram heading towards his cab.

Paul Bonney: bus driver said he saw the tram heading towards his cab.

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The scene on O’Connell Street, Dublin, on September 16, 2009, following the crash between the tram and the bus.

A BUS driver has told how he accelerated desperately away from a Luas tram just seconds before it crashed into the side of his vehicle.

He was giving evidence as the Luas driver went on trial for "impaling" his tram into a bus on O'Connell Street in Dublin city centre.

Oriyomi Emmanuel (39), of Jamestown Park, Ratoath, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty under the Railway Safety Act 2005 to the unsafe operation of a tram at the junction of Middle Abbey Street and O'Connell Street on September 16, 2009.

The jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday viewed CCTV footage of the moment the tram collided with the centre of the Dublin Bus.

A garda witness said the nose of the tram penetrated the bus by "two to three feet" and that two women were trapped.

The bus driver told the court he had a green light to go through the junction when the Luas hit him.

He gave evidence that after the crash, the front of the Luas was inside the bus at the wheelchair seating area.

Paul Bonney said he was driving the number 16 bus southwards on O'Connell Street and had "plenty of passengers".

He drove the bus at 25 to 30kmh and drove through the Abbey Street junction as he "had a green light". He said he saw the Luas coming towards the cab of the bus and accelerated to get out of the way.

Wounded

"If I didn't accelerate I wouldn't be here today," he told Garnet Orange, prosecuting.

Mr Bonney said he tried to avoid a collision but the Luas hit the bus, injuring a number of people, including himself.

Sergeant Brian Cullen was on traffic duty. He said that when he got to the scene he saw the "walking wounded" being treated by emergency services. The Luas had "impaled" the bus by two to three feet and two women trapped under its nose were being tended to.

He spoke to the bus driver, who was bleeding from the head. The driver told him: "I had a green light."

Sgt Cullen said he then found Mr Emmanuel, who was also injured. He collected CCTV footage from the area and took the details of passengers.

George Doyle was driving another Luas and was waiting at the lights at the other end of the junction. He said the junction "looked clear to me" when the other tram began to move.

He did not have a go signal for his tram and agreed with Mr Orange that most of the time both trams get a go signal at the same time. However he added that it was "not unusual" for only one to get the signal.

Mr Doyle said that after the crash he noticed that a handle in Mr Emmanuel's cab was all the way down, indicating the emergency brake was engaged.

He added that he knew Mr Emmanuel from the staff canteen.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent