- Former mayor smashed a double-decker bus into a supermarket, killing two
- A court heard he had previous complaints from passengers about his driving
- Prosecutors said that by any objective standard 'it is shockingly bad driving'
- Birmingham Crown Court ruled Chander was driving dangerously before crash
- He was judged unfit to plead or stand trial and rather faced a fact-finding inquest
This is the horrifying moment a bus driver, 80, ploughed a double-decker into a Sainsbury's killing a seven-year-old boy and a pensioner having worked three consecutive 75 hour weeks.
Kailash Chander, who crashed into a Sainsburys, killing two people, was driving dangerously when he caused the deaths, a fact-finding trial has found.
The bus driven by Chander, 80, smashed into the supermarket in October 2015.
Rowan Fitzgerald, seven, and Dora Hancox, 76, died when the bus crashed in Coventry.
Mr Chander, 80, from Leamington Spa, was judged unfit to plead or stand trial at Birmingham Crown Court after he was diagnosed with dementia after the crash.
During the fact-finding trial, prosecutors alleged the 'shockingly bad driving' by Chander, aged 77 at the time, occurred after he had worked three consecutive 75-hour weeks.
'As it pulled off [from a bus stop], the bus immediately collided with the back of another bus, a single decker, which was waiting in front of it,' Andrew Thomas QC said.
'That was a glancing blow. The double decker then continued on, accelerating to a dangerous speed for that road, at one point veering off the road and onto a grass verge.
'Pedestrians had to run to avoid being hit. The bus collided with a lamp post and several flag poles, knocking them down.
'Even after that collision, the bus carried on. It went on to hit the front of the Sainsbury's supermarket.'
He had also heralded complaints from members of the public who had become concerned about the quality of his driving, the Coventry Telegraph reported.
Prosecutors told the court that front of the bus had been badly crushed by the collision, in particular to the top deck - where seven-year-old Rowan Fitzgerald had been sitting in the front seat.
'Two other passengers, including Rowan's eight-year-old cousin, suffered very serious injuries,' Mr Thomas told the court.
'Others had minor injuries. Many more, both passengers and pedestrians, had been put at risk of death or serious injury and were lucky to escape.
Explaining the facts alleged against Chander, Mr Thomas told the court: 'The prosecution say that the collision was caused by a gross driver error.
'The collision, and the deaths which resulted from it, were entirely the result of the dangerous way in which the bus was driven.
'It appears that Mr Chander had not appreciated he had left the bus in 'drive' - that is, in gear - when he arrived at the stop on Hales Street.
'The bus started to move as soon as he took the handbrake off. Once the bus had started to move Mr Chander held his foot down on the throttle pedal instead of the brake, and that caused the bus to accelerate out of control.
'We suggest that the only possible explanation was that he had become confused over the controls of the bus. He thought that his foot was on the brake, but in fact he was accelerating hard.'
Mr Thomas said Chander did not apply the brakes until 'some seconds' after the bus had crashed into the Sainsbury's store, damaging the upper deck, and coming to a halt.
The barrister added: 'So, this appears to be the case of a driver - a professional driver carrying a large number of passengers on a double-decker bus - who put his foot down on the accelerator instead of pressing the brake.
'And instead of realising his mistake, he kept his foot down on the accelerator throughout the journey. The prosecution say that by any objective standard it is shockingly bad driving.'
The court heard that in 2014, the bus company, Midland Red installed a telematics system across its fleet to monitor driver performance.
The system was called 'Ecodriver' and was a 'spy-in-the-cab' device which would monitor driver performance electronically by measuring features such as braking, cornering, acceleration and speeding.
It was between July 2014 and September 2015 that Mr Chander received 24 letters relating to his Ecodriver performance.
Chander, from Leamington, was been judged medically unfit to plead or stand trial, and was excused from attending a 'finding-of-facts' trial which began on Tuesday.