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Norwich bus driver in court charged with careless driving over pedestrian death

PUBLISHED: 08:25 29 June 2016 | UPDATED: 10:00 29 June 2016

Bus driver Gerald Barfoot at Norwich Crown Court.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Bus driver Gerald Barfoot at Norwich Crown Court. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A bus driver who knocked down and killed an elderly woman believed she was going to stop in the centre of the road before she was struck, a court has heard.

The scene of the collision on Cromer Road in Norwich.The scene of the collision on Cromer Road in Norwich.

Gerald Barfoot, 60, of Longfields Road, Norwich, was driving a route 603 airport service when he hit Ilonida Buozyte, on the A140 Cromer Road near the Boundary on February 20, 2015.

The 65-year-old was initially taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital with serious brain injuries before she was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where she died on March 13.

A trial began yesterday at Norwich Crown Court, with Barfoot charged with causing death by careless driving.

Isobel Ascherson, prosecuting, said Barfoot saw Miss Buozyte crossing the main road from the other side.

She said: “She did not appear at any stage to look up or towards oncoming traffic so she continued walking and was hit by the bus.”

She added that in a police interview Barfoot said he assumed that having got to the middle of the road, she would then stop.

Barfoot, under cross-examination by Miss Ascherson, said: “I saw her cross the road on the right and she was comfortable in doing that as she had enough time on that side of the road. 
“I thought she was going to stop in the centre but when I realised she was going to carry on I shouted, blew my horn and braked as hard as I could.

“In the city people cross in front of you all the time. And 99 times out of 100 if they don’t have enough time they will stop.”

Miss Ascherson questioned why Barfoot had not slowed down or sounded his horn earlier, and why he assumed she was going to stop.

Witness Julie Boothby, who was driving behind the bus, said: “I anticipated she was going to stop because of the very large white bus approaching.

“Me and the bus driver both started slowing down at the same time as he was neither getting further away or closer.

“I had slowed down in time so that I could pull into a side road and assist after the crash. I remember seeing her look up at the last moment with a look of horror as if she should have stopped.”

The court heard that Miss Buozyte was on her way to Castle Meadow in Norwich to meet up with her son.

Barfoot has been a bus driver for 28 years and employed by Norse since 2005.

After taking a leave of absence he returned to the company, and currently works for them as a children’s coach driver.

The case continues.

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