"I see the scene well": at the trial of the drama of Millas, the driver of the coach denies having forced the level crossing

On the first day of the Millas collision trial, the bus driver assured that she had not committed any recklessness. Six college students died in the crash.

This is the whole point of this trial which will last three weeks. Was the level crossing barrier raised or lowered? Was the buzzer on when the school bus approached the crossing? On the first day of her trial, the driver of the bus which collided with a TER in December 2017 in Millas, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, assured that she had not seen any of these security systems.

“I can see the scene well. Everything was up, everything was off, there was no sound signal. I hired the bus”, detailed Nadine Oliveira, ensuring that she had not committed any recklessness.

“No Memories”

On December 14, 2017, the school bus she was driving, with 23 teenagers on board, was hit by a TER at a level crossing. Six schoolchildren died, and eight others were seriously injured. On this first day of the trial, relocated to Marseille, the president questioned the defendant about the circumstances of the accident. The 50-year-old burst into tears during this interrogation.

Describing herself as a “cautious and conscientious” driver who studied her routes upstream, Nadine Oliveira had taken this route six times a day since September 2017 but without having ever been confronted with the passage of a train. On the day of the accident, she again assured the court that she had not seen the train arrive.

“You can well imagine what psychological situation she is in. She is devastated. She is a woman who has no future, underlined one of the lawyers for the driver, Me Jean Codognès. But she was waiting for this trial , it will also do him good,” he added.

The students will testify

For the investigators, “the most probable hypothesis, on the technical level” is indeed “that of a level crossing closed at the time of the accident”, even if the testimonies attesting to the opposite, including those of certain children, “are the majority”. Other witnesses maintain that the barrier was closed.

The bus “was doing its maneuver and it did not stop. The barrier, it was pushed quietly, as if it were pushed by hand”, testified at the bar the passenger of a vehicle which was stopped from there. he other side of the level crossing, whose barriers were lowered, according to him.

This Tuesday, the morning will be devoted to the testimonies of teenagers, several of whom wished to speak. Among them, Enzo, who was injured in the hand in the accident and followed the first day of the trial from Perpignan.

“At the mention of the testimony” of the occupants of the car stopped on the other side of the level crossing, “it made him relive all that and he said to me ‘I want to testify, I want to testify'”, a indicated his lawyer, Me Raymond Escalé.

Leave a Comment