Careless driving verdict

5th May 2006 at 01:00
An unlicensed and uninsured minibus driver was this week cleared of causing the death of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by dangerous driving.

Christopher Cushing, 38, of Ash Place, Bargoed, south Wales, was instead found guilty of careless driving following a collision which killed Jasmine Allen.

The Newbridge comprehensive pupil was fatally injured following an accident between the minibus and a Skoda car on a steep section of the A472, between Crumlin and Hafodyrynys in south Wales. Nine other children were injured in the crash on May 16 last year.

A spokesman for Caerphilly local education authority said it no longer used the contractor, A1 Minibus Hire. Cardiff crown court was told Cushing took over Jasmine's school run for free as a favour to the then owner, when the regular driver failed to show.

Caerphilly is now reviewing procedures with all its school transport contractors. The spokesman added: "Our thoughts and sympathies are with Jasmine's family."

Cushing was fined pound;250 and banned from driving for six months.

In a statement, Jasmine's mother, Ann Leach, said the family was disappointed with the verdict: "It is our opinion that Christopher Cushing should never have been driving the minibus on that day."

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