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Driver avoids tragedy after boy lies down in front of bus

By Donna Deeney

An extremely reckless game of 'chicken' in which a teenager lay down in front of an oncoming bus could have ended in tragedy had it not been for the experience and skill of the driver, Translink has said.

The driver of the bus to the Culmore area of Londonderry couldn't believe his eyes when a boy aged around 13 or 14 stepped away from his friends and lay down in the middle of the road less than 30 metres from his approaching bus.

While the driver did not want to be interviewed, the service delivery manager for Translink in Derry, Alan Young, said he wanted the incident highlighted to warn other motorists.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Young said: "I have been in this job for 20 years and this was the first time I have ever come across something so reckless.

"I spoke with the driver and I can honestly say it if it wasn't for his level of skill and experience this could have had a very different outcome.

"He was watching the road well ahead and so he saw what this young boy did but he could hardly believe his eyes.

"Thankfully there were no passengers on the bus at the time, but the driver sounded his horn and flashed his lights at the youth before he got up from the road and went and stood beside his friends.

"Had the driver not been so vigilant, he may have had to swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid the boy or mount the kerb where his friends were.

"The driver was left quite shaken by this and he is keen that other motorists are made aware that this could happen to them.

"Parents need to seriously talk to the children and warn them how dangerous these stupid games can be."

SDLP councillor for Culmore Angela Dobbins made the same plea to parents.

"I was horrified to learn of this incident, the outcome could have been so very different," the councillor said.

"Parents need to press upon their children the dangers of 'bravado' acts and that playing 'chicken' or acting 'big' in front of friends is only putting their lives and the lives of others in danger."

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