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August 11, 2015

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No prosecution for bus driver who blacked out, fatally injuring colleague

A bus driver, who had been involved in two previous crashes after losing consciousness at the wheel, will not be prosecuted over a third crash which led to the death of a colleague, the Crown Office has said.

First Bus driver David Logue, 47, twice had his licence reinstated following crashes in 1998 and 2008, caused when he lost consciousness while driving. On March 31 2012, he blacked out again whilst driving a double decker bus on Cathcart Road, Glasgow. The impact crushed fellow First Bus driver, Jim Lochrie, 62 who was waiting at the roadside to take over from Mr Logue.

Mr Lochrie was trapped underneath the bus and was pronounced dead shortly after the vehicle was lifted off him.

The Crown Office has now confirmed that Mr Logue, who had been open with the authorities about his prior blackouts – attributed to a “cardio-vascular incident” and high blood pressure – will not face prosecution over Mr Lochrie’s death, stating that there was “no evidence to suggest that the driver’s conduct at the time amounted to a breach of the criminal law”. The third blackout was blamed on dehydration.

The case comes amid continuing controversy over the Crown Office’s decision to rule out a prosecution against bin lorry driver, Harry Clarke, following the deaths of six people when he passed out at the wheel of a bin lorry in Glasgow last December.

This was despite evidence that he had repeatedly lied to doctors, the DVLA and employers about a long history of faints and dizziness. This included a blackout at the wheel of a stationary bus in 2010 with First Bus.

Glasgow City Council confirmed Mr Clarke had been suspended following evidence at the ongoing inquiry into the incident.

The circumstances around both the Logue and Clarke inquiries have raised questions about how the public transport operators can guard against such incidents.

Ralph Roberts, managing director of McGill’s Buses, said: “The details coming out of the FAI are very worrying and have caused us to look at what we can do, internally, to learn from this tragedy and minimise the chances of something similar happening.”

Mr Roberts added that that he has written to the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Transport Minister Derek Mackay and his own local MP urging changes in the law to hand operators “complete visibility” of the employment records of job applicants.

He said: “If a [passenger carrying vehicle] driver was legally bound to allow their personnel file to be given from their previous employer to their new employer, there would be much greater quality control of who is put behind the wheel of a large vehicle.”

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