Tas bus driver fatal crash case 'unusual'

·1-min read

A 69-year-old bus driver whose negligent driving killed a man and his two-year-old daughter in Tasmania had volunteered last minute to work on the day of the accident.

Christine Helen Chatterton appeared in Hobart Magistrates Court on Tuesday after earlier being found guilty of two counts of causing death by negligent driving over the crash south of Hobart in August 2020.

Chatterton was behind the wheel of a white 1998 Hino passenger bus and had completed a school run when it collided with a sedan and two other cars.

The 42-year-old man was in the sedan with his daughter.

Her lawyer told the court the case was unique and any penalty should be "severely tempered" because speeding, travelling too close and general inattention was not involved.

He said the circumstances involved the "mere act" of braking excessively and nothing more.

Magistrate Marica Duvnjak, who was presented with victim impact statements from the man's mother and widow, is expected to sentence Chatterton on August 12.

"These are quite unusual circumstances," she said.

Chatterton's lawyer said that she had never been involved in an accident before, had worked for the bus company for 37 years, volunteered last minute to do the school run and had "glowing" references.

He said any jail sentence would have an impact on Chatterton and her partner, who are close to retirement and intend to travel overseas.

Prosecutor Madeleine Wilson said there was a need for the sentence to have general deterrence even though the act of negligence was a momentary one.

"This act occurred in circumstances that were entirely avoidable given the defendant had sufficient time and distance to stop safely," she said.

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