Local News

Ballarat bus driver escapes jail term after Avoca fatal crash

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A Sebastopol bus driver has escaped a jail term after he was at the wheel during a bus crash near Avoca, which later claimed the lives of two women.

Lionel Calf has been sentenced to a three-year community corrections order in the Ballarat County Court.

Local women Ethel Glenister  87 and Carmel Mitchell 71 later died as a result of injuries from the Sunraysia Highway crash which happened in October  2017.

The heard that the driver failed to negotiate a sweeping bend and crashed down an embankment

In sentencing, Judge Wendy Wilmoth said six other passengers on the bus suffered injuries including punctured lungs as well as broken vertebrae, ribs and ankles.  Some of those injuries were still affecting the women today.

The court also heard that some passengers hung by their seat-belts as they waited for help.

Judge Wilmoth said the 71-year-old was driving was travelling under the speed limit and no alcohol or drugs were found in his system. His

driver logs showed he'd had plenty of rest and she also said he had an exemplary driving record over many years.

A total of 27 passengers were on board when the bus was heading back from a lawn bowls tournament in Mildura.

Judge Wilmoth said tactile strips had since been installed on the highway.