Bus Driver Facing Charges over Baroness Crash
BBC News reports that Norman Markus is to be charged with dangerous driving, as well as using a vehicle with defective brakes and breaching a 7.5 tonne weight limit. The summer accident had Markus taking the band up a steep stretch of highway in Monkton Combe, UK, when the bus went out of control, hit a guardrail and plunged off a viaduct.
Of the accident, vocalist/guitarist John Baizley, who suffered a broken arm and leg, had previously noted: "The guard rail and the 20 or 30 trees we ploughed through snapped like matchsticks as we went fully airborne and fell down more than 30 feet off of a viaduct to the ground below. Half of the band/crew were asleep while we lost our brakes, and a few of us were awake and sitting in the rear lounge. I was up front with our driver, and I bore witness to the entire thing. Once our brakes failed, the bus could do little more than gain momentum and plummet down the hill."
Drummer Allen Blickle and bass player Matt Maggioni were also injured in the crash, with both yielding fractured vertebrae, while guitarist Pete Adams received minor injuries. Nine people were onboard at the time of the accident.
Crown Prosecutor Andrew Walters told the BBC that it's been a "very complicated investigation," with apparently many variables to consider.
Markus is also facing charges of insufficient daily and weekly rest periods and using a vehicle in a condition likely to cause danger of injury, as well as for not having the right licence to operate the vehicle.
Markus is due in court April 5.
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