Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Christchurch bus driver sentenced following fatal accident

Trish Beets died after a Christchurch bus driver Lindsay Taylor ran a red light on October 4, 2015. Photo / Supplied
Trish Beets died after a Christchurch bus driver Lindsay Taylor ran a red light on October 4, 2015. Photo / Supplied

A Christchurch bus driver who ran a red light and crashed into a car, killing a female passenger, has today been sentenced to 200 hours of community work for his fatal "moment of inattention".

Lindsay John Taylor, 62, was driving a Red Bus with fare-paying passengers on Christchurch's Kilmore St at about 8pm on October 4 last year.

As he approached the Colombo St-Kilmore St intersection, he thought the light was green, he would later tell police.

But it had turned red and as Taylor illegally drove through, the bus ploughed into a car.

Passenger Trish Anne Beets, 44, was fatally injured and died at the scene - just 1km from her home.

The driver, her flatmate, was hospitalised for six days with broken ribs, a punctured lung, and severe bruising.

Taylor earlier pleaded guilty to charges of causing death and injury by careless driving.

Today, at Christchurch District Court, Ms Beet's only child, Chloe Beets said she is no longer sad, but angry at Taylor who she says has never apologised for his actions.

The last few months have been the hardest of her life and she still has nightmares, she said in an emotional victim impact statement.

She is angry that her mother never enjoyed becoming a grandmother, and is angry that it took Taylor so long to admit he was in the wrong and that it meant the driver spent so many weeks second guessing himself over whether he was responsible for causing his best friend's death.

Ms Beet didn't believe bus companies or drivers had learned from the tragedy, claiming she witnessed buses running red lights and breaking the road rules every day.

Defence counsel John Brandts-Giesen described the fatal mistake as a result of a "moment of misattention".

Taylor has since lost his job, is currently unemployed, and living in a caravan at a friend's property in Oxford, North Canterbury.

Judge Gary MacAskill blasted the police today for its "professional incompetence" in failing to provide victim impact statements to the court ahead of sentencing dates.

"If it happens again, the roof will fall. I've had enough," he said.

Judge MacAskill sentenced Taylor to 200 hours of community work.

He also ordered him to pay $3800 in reparation and disqualified him from driving for nine months.

- NZ Herald

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