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Bus driver 'devastated' by deaths in supermarket crash

Published 05/10/2015

Two died when the bus crashed into a Sainsbury's supermarket in Coventry (Pa/@Haroon_Mota)
Two died when the bus crashed into a Sainsbury's supermarket in Coventry (Pa/@Haroon_Mota)

The family of a bus driver whose vehicle smashed into a supermarket, killing a pedestrian and a seven-year-old passenger, have said he is "devastated to the core" by the tragedy.

Relatives of 77-year-old Kailash Chander described Saturday's crash in Coventry city centre as "beyond imagination".

Primary school pupil Rowan Fitzgerald and pensioner Dora Hancox were pronounced dead at the scene after the double-decker bus operated by Stagecoach Midlands mounted a pavement and struck the side of a Sainsbury's store.

A statement issued by unnamed relatives of Mr Chander, a former town mayor of Leamington Spa, read: "We want to express our deepest and most sincere condolences to those involved, particularly the families who have lost their loved ones.

"Being a grandfather himself, he is devastated to the core by what has happened. We feel deeply for everyone affected by this terrible tragedy."

The statement added: "He is a very quiet man, and a caring and devoted person. He has strong ties with the local community and has spent most of his life helping and thinking of others.

"This is just beyond anyone's imagination.

"We would only ask that the privacy of the families is respected at this tragic time and the police are given space to complete their investigation."

West Midlands Police have said the driver has not been arrested but is assisting the inquiry.

Rowan, who attended St Anthony's Catholic Primary School in Leamington, was travelling on the upper deck of the bus. His cousin, an eight-year-old girl, was also injured and remains in a stable condition in hospital.

The children were travelling with their grandparents at the time of the crash, which left five other people requiring hospital treatment.

Inspector Paul Bennett, from West Midlands Police collision investigation unit, said: "The families of Rowan and Dora have suffered a devastating loss.

"Like people the length and breadth of Britain, we extend our deepest sympathies to them during this time."

It is believed the bus collided with a number of stationary cars, mounted a pavement and struck a lamppost before crashing on Trinity Street.

Jane McSharry, head teacher at St Anthony's, said: "Rowan Fitzgerald was a perfect, kind, unassuming, gorgeous little boy, with a smile to melt any heart.

"The thoughts and prayers of our whole school community are with his family at this tragic time."

A spokesman for Stagecoach Midlands said: "Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost their loved ones.

"No driver we employ is allowed behind the wheel of our buses without us being satisfied that they are fully qualified, safe and meet all necessary legal requirements.

"In this case, our driver has many years' experience and has also passed a mandatory annual medical.

"Both our driver and our company are co-operating fully in helping police determine the full circumstances involved."

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