Family calls for justice after bus fall blamed for death of Brierley Hill pensioner

First published in Local

THE family of a 71-year-old Brierley Hill woman have appealed for help in tracing the driver of a silver Renault car whose reckless driving ultimately led to her death.

An inquest in Smethwick was told how Janice Reed was thrown to the floor of a Hansons single decker bus, which had been cut-up as it pulled away from a bus stop in Stourbridge last September.

Mrs Reed, who lived in Woods Lane, Brierley Hill, died 17 days later on October 10 as a result of injuries sustained from the accident, but the driver of the car involved was never traced.

Her daughter, Susan Cox said: " She was the best mum in the world and her death has left a massive hole in our lives."

Bus driver Anthony Coulson told the inquest he was driving the 287 Stourbridge to Merry Hill bus on September 23 at around 11am and was pulling away from a bus stop close to the junction with Church Road and Holcroft Road when he was forced to brake sharply as the silver Renault cut across him.

He said: "I was aware of a vehicle coming in front of me from my right. The driver was clearly in a hurry and wanted to get in front of the bus. As the car came past, it turned in front of me.

The vehicle was very, very close, less than a metre and I immediately had to break to avoid a collision. I broke so hard, that it lifted me above the seat and I banged on my horn.

"I could see nothing of the driver or whether there were any passengers in the car.

"I was aware a lady had fallen to floor and that another passenger's shopping had tumbled out.

"By the time I'd got out of my cab, a man had gone to the assistance of the lady who had fallen and helped her get back into her seat. I asked her if she was OK and if she wanted an ambulance on more than one occasion.

"The lady seemed more concerned about her mobile phone and wanted to call her husband.

"I ran up and down the road to see if the car had stopped, but there was no sign of it. I understand it was a silver Renault with a 55 plate, but when things happen so quickly, it's difficult to take in so much information.

"When we reached Waterfall Lane, two passengers helped the lady off the bus where her husband was already waiting. It was clear she was in some pain and not walking confidently.

Police later checked CCTV cameras from nearby shops in Grange Road and from a number of residential houses.

They also accessed the Police National Computer but could only trace one local owner of a silver Renault which was subsequently eliminated from their inquiries.

Coroner Robin Balmain recorded a verdict of death due to an accident and said: "It's clear the bus was overtaken in circumstances which were quite frankly dangerous and it caused Mrs Reed to be thrown to the floor."

After the inquest, her husband Frank Reed said: "We're looking for justice and we'll do anything to trace the driver of the car which caused the accident. We believe they must be local because they would have needed to have knowledge of the area to make the manoeuvre which they made."

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