22 Jul 2009

Bus driver should not have left after accident - police

3:01 pm on 22 July 2009

Police say the driver of a bus that struck and critically injured a teenager in Auckland should never have driven off.

The driver has been suspended by his employers and will be formally interviewed by the police serious crash unit on Wednesday.

Sheetal Chand was crossing Barrack Road in Mt Wellington on Tuesday when she was hit.

The 16-year-old Auckland Girls Grammar student is fighting for her life in Auckland Hospital.

The police say the driver of the NZ Bus stopped briefly after the incident, providing his details to a witness before carrying on with his route.

They say it's the decision to move the bus away, that's concerning.

Sergeant Matthew Ford of the serious crash unit says, fortunately, in this case, his decision to drive off has not hindered their investigation.

He says the driver's account of what happened will determine whether the bus company's policies and training are investigated further.

The driver, who is considered experienced, has been suspended while a company review is completed.

Miss Chand suffered extensive head injuries and is in Auckland Hospital's critical care unit.

The driver has worked for NZ Bus for four years and is considered to be experienced.

NZ Bus general manager of operations Zane Fulljames says the driver was very upset and has been offered counselling.

His suspension is pending the outcome of an internal review by the company. NZ Bus is also helping with the police inquiry.

Mr Fulljames says the accident is tragic, and one accident is one too many.