Young woman describes moment Highbury fiancé was killed by a bus
PUBLISHED: 15:33 28 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:39 28 October 2014
The fiancé of a Transport for London (TfL) worker killed just months before they were due to marry after he was run over by a bus paid tribute to a “legend” of a boyfriend.
Peter Van de Bulk, 26, of Drayton Park, Highbury, was run over by a bus while rushing to catch a train at Euston station with fiancé Lauren Barwis, 25, on the evening of March 11.
Walking slightly ahead of Ms Barwis, the court heard how Mr Van de Bulk stepped out to cross the road while a red pedestrian light was showing, before slipping and falling backwards.
An oncoming bus turning into the station then ran over his body, causing multiple injuries.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests have been made and there is no criminal prosecution - the inquest ruled he died in a “one off” accident.
Giving evidence at St Pancras Coroner’s Court this morning, Ms Barwis described the moment her husband-to-be was killed, saying: “To get through people Peter was a few steps ahead of me as we were approaching. Peter went through some people in the Central area.
“I thought there was an impact but I don’t actually remember.
“He slipped. I just remember him rolling under the bus.
“I remember I shouted something but I don’t remember.
“As Peter rolled under it was his bottom half underneath the left of the bus and the bus was still going.
“He was rolling under and as he rolled under the back wheel came towards him and was pretty sure it was on him.
“That was when I shouted for the bus to be moved forward.
“I got my phone out as an immediate reaction. I just shouted ‘please someone call 999’.”
A subsequent investigation found Mr Van de Bulk, who was due to marry last month, was likely caught in a blind spot of the bus.
The driver of the Arriva bus, Tolu Oyenuga, was said to be travelling between five and 10mph at the time of the impact.
He told the court: “As I was turning into the road, all I heard was a thud from my near side.
“Someone shouted ‘stop the bus’. I noticed I’d gone over something. I was in a state of panic.
“Someone was shouting ‘the bus is on him, move it forward’, so I jumped back in and moved it forward.”
Family and friends of Mr Van de Bulk said they held “no grudge” against the bus driver, with Ms Barwis adding: “We are sorry for what he has gone through.”
A post-mortem found Mr Van de Bulk died of multiple injuries and the coroner gave a verdict of “accidental” death.
While family and friends attending the inquest into Mr Van de Bulk’s death said they were happy with the coroner’s verdict, a number of questions over the safety of the junction where he died were raised in the court.
Simon Wickenden, traffic management officer at the Metropolitan Police, told the court how pedestrians at this particularly crossing were forced to wait up to 78 seconds for a pedestrian green man signal to show.
Describing the junction as “substandard”, he said: “It’s an extremely long time for pedestrians to be waiting...they constantly cross while a red man is showing.
“It’s completely unrealistic and takes no account of human behaviour. Any pedestrian familiar with the area is likely to cross during a red signal.”
An investigation prompted by Mr Van de Bulk’s death also found many buses turning into Euston station travelled over the recommended 10mph speed limit zone.
Despite nothing being done to change the signal timings on the lights - a responsibility of TfL - the coroner chose not to issue a Report to Prevent Future Deaths (PFD), content the accident was a “one off”.
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