Coroner: more training could have prevented Clerkenwell graduate bus crush death

David Wood, 22, died after being crushed by a double decker bus in Clerkenwell on August 20

David Wood, 22, died after being crushed by a double decker bus in Clerkenwell on August 20 - Credit: Archant

A coroner has demanded answers from a bus company after a “panicked” driver accidentally crushed a City University graduate.

On August 20, 22-year-old David Wood stepped into the path of a double decker bus in Farringdon Road’s junction with Clerkenwell Road.

The inquest into his death, at Poplar Coroner’s Court last Tuesday, found his death was caused by the driver inadvertently lowering the bus, rather than raising it, after he realised that Mr Wood was trapped underneath.

Mr Wood, who graduated in June and lived in Kentish Town, was taken to Royal London Hospital but died two days later.

He had only secured his “dream job” as a radiographer at St Bartholomew’s Hospital the day before the accident, and was due to start imminently.

On Friday, Mary Hassell, senior coroner for inner north London, released a prevention of future deaths report.

In it, she suggested Mr Wood’s death could have been avoided if the driver had been given more training by his employer, East London Bus and Coach Company.

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“The bus driver gave evidence that he had undergone training on the use of the ferry lift switch when he had begun driving this particular sort of bus a year earlier.

“However, he had not undergone any training since, and did not to me seem completely certain of the use of the ferry switch control. In any event, he panicked when he realised that someone was trapped underneath the bus.

“More, and particularly more frequent, training on the use of the switch might have lessened the likelihood of such a panic driven error.”

Ms Hassell also questioned the bus manufacturer, Northern Ireland-based Wrightbus International.

In a separate report, she said: “I heard evidence that the bus manual says of the ferry lift switch that pressing the switch raises the bus body - but it does not explain that pressing it in a different way lowers the bus body.”

Both companies have until February 8 to respond.