Ban for M55 horror driver on her phone

The overturned minibus crashed on the way to drop visitors off at a Blackpool hotel.
The overturned minibus crashed on the way to drop visitors off at a Blackpool hotel.
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A WOMAN who was using her mobile phone when the minibus she was driving careered across three lanes of the M55 before overturning has been banned from the road.

Sylvia Jeffries, 50, admitted driving without due care attention after the horrifying incident which left some passengers in hospital.

The bus, travelling at up to 60mph, hit the central reservation going down the central area for 50 yards. It then veered back across the lanes before it turned over and came to a halt on the hard shoulder.

Pam Smith, prosecuting, at Blackpool Magistrates Court said that one of the passengers - a resident at the care home - suffered severe cuts. One man, 58, spent 20 days in hospital and had to have extensive skin grafts.

He was taken by air ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital and the M55 had to be shut for a short time after the crash on September 7.

The prosecutor said: “The accident took place at 4pm and tests on Miss Jeffries’ mobile phone revealed it was active at the time.

“There is a record of a call involving another member of staff also going to Blackpool.”

He went on: “As well as the accused there were three care home residents and two carers in the minibus. All the occupants were injured including the driver.

“She was in a a position of being a person with a duty of care to those vulnerable people in the bus.”

Jeffries admitted she had been using the phone to contact a colleague who was already in Blackpool for the holiday break.

She had been working for Willowbeck Health Care at the time but has since lost her job after an internal investigation decided she was guilty of gross misconduct.

She was employed as activities manager at the home and was travelling to the Bond Hotel in Blackpool where the three residents of the home were to have had a holiday.

She denied being on her mobile just before the crash and said the minibus had been forced to swerve to avoid a 4x4 vehicle.

Jeffries, of Norrells Drive, Broom, Rotherham, was banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £303.

Bench chairman Janet Bocaccio: “On your own admission you had been using a mobile phone. The consequences of your actions were most severe.”

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