Bus tragedy averted


Bus tragedy averted

Missile hit driver: Westernport Road Lines rail replacement manager, Allan Adcock, and bus driver Brett Allan want the culprit who threw a bottle of softdrink at a V/Line bus, smashing the windscreen, to turn themselves in to police.

A BUS driver saved the lives of his 14 passengers after a bottle filled with cola was thrown through the windscreen last Friday.

A passenger in an oncoming vehicle threw the full 1.5 litre bottle at the bus, smashing the driver’s side of the windscreen.

The V/Line bus was travelling at 100km/h along the South Gippsland Highway towards Leongatha at around 8.53pm.

The driver, Leongatha’s Brett Allan, said he didn’t see the missile hurtling towards the bus until it hit the windscreen. He initially thought it was a bird.

The impact was so severe that almost every seat down the length of the bus was showered with shards of glass, as the bus passed through the Ruby straight.

“I’m lucky I can still see for a start. It was like a bomb going off,” Mr Allan said, describing the incident as “absurd”.

“It was the equivalent of throwing a rock. If the bottle hadn’t have exploded and knocked me in the head full, it would’ve knocked me out.”

While Mr Allan denies he is a hero, he said his passengers welcomed his composure behind the wheel.

“They were quite appreciative. It all happened so quickly that you just do what you have to do and luckily enough it was a straight piece of road so that I could just put the brakes on and come to a stop,” he said.

“Once it was all finished and I pulled up on the side of the road, I sort of worked out I was covered in glass and pieced together what had happened.”

Westernport Road Lines rail replacement manager, Allan Adcock, said Mr Allan had done a “fantastic” job to not further endanger his passengers’ lives, and condemned the actions of the culprit.

“The bottle hit the driver on the head and showered him in glass and coke, but he managed to pull the bus up and stop on the side of the road near the old Ruby exit,” he said.

“There was no wrenching of the steering wheel, there was no quick reaction to do something drastic, there was no slamming on the brakes; when you’re driving a big vehicle, you have to bring it to a nice stop and that’s exactly what he did.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. Why would anybody throw a projectile at a bus when it’s carrying passengers and doing 100km per hour?”

Mr Adcock said the bus had been driving alongside an embankment when the incident occurred.

“It could have easily killed everybody on board if the driver had not reacted as calmly as he did,” he said.

“If he had have pulled to the left, the bus would have been down the embankment along with all the passengers.”

Mr Allan said the incident was completely avoidable and unnecessary.

“I know we all do silly things in our lives, but that’s just taking it to a new level,” he said.

“The people responsible probably have no idea the damage they’ve caused. They probably just expected the bottle with the coke in it was going to explode on the front of the coach and leave a mess. You’d think that’s what they were thinking.”

Mr Allan said he assumed the culprits would have looked behind them to see the bus’ brake lights come on and the bus stop,  but most likely had no idea the “bottle came through the windscreen and hit me in the head”.

“The best thing is for them to come forward and take responsibility for their actions because it could have killed a lot of people.”

Leongatha Police attended the incident and Mr Allan was taken by ambulance to the Leongatha Memorial Hospital suffering from minor cuts around the face and head.

Police are still investigating footage of the incident taken from the bus and have identified the oncoming vehicle as a white sedan.

One officer said the bottle had been close to full when it was thrown from the oncoming vehicle, and had punched a hole in the windscreen, landing in Mr Allan’s lap.

They also commended him for his ability to maintain control and stop the bus safely.

Mr Allan thanked his passengers for all their help on the night.

“They were very helpful; someone rang triple zero, one passenger that’s a regular called Allan for me, and another passenger got me a bottle of water from the back of the bus so we could try and wash as much glass off me as possible,” he said.

Mr Adcock said Mr Allan is still suffering from shock following the accident.

“He’s got to go back to the optometrist today (Tuesday) to have his eyes scanned to make sure there are no fragments of glass in them,” he said.

“He’ll probably be off work the next couple of days at least.”

The cost of replacing the smashed windscreen is approximately $1400 and Mr Adcock said it will take a great deal of time to clean broken glass and coke from the inside of the coach.

The bus had left Southern Cross Station in Melbourne at 7pm and was destined for Yarram at the time of the incident.

Anyone with information regarding the white sedan or the incident is asked to contact Leongatha Police on 5662 2285.

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Posted by on Oct 9 2012. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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