Bus fall woman died after losing balance

Accident scene

Accident scene

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An 85-year-old woman died of “unsurvivable” brain damage after losing her balance on a bus travelling at just one mile an hour, an inquest heard.

Edna White fell backwards, smashing her head on a metal step, as she got out of her seat ready to get off.

But bus driver Christopher Anderson was not at fault in any way, ruled assistant deputy coroner Sian Jones at the hearing in Preston.

Passengers testified that the double-decker bus, which had stopped for pedestrians at a zebra crossing outside the Booths store in Fulwood, set off slowly and smoothly and Mrs White, who walked with a stick, simply over-balanced.

Ms Jones reached a conclusion that the retired clerk’s death, a week after the fall, was a complete accident.

The inquest was told Mrs White, who had suffered the occasional dizzy spell in the past, was returning home from a weekly lunch date with friends in Preston when her bus pulled up to let people cross. Her stop was only yards further on and, as she got up and turned in the aisle, the bus slowly moved off.

CCTV on the vehicle showed she lost her balance and tried to grab a rail, but missed, falling backwards and hitting her head on the step.

While she was chatty with fellow passengers as she waited for an ambulance – telling one she just wanted to get some crumpets from the store and go home – her condition deteriorated rapidly after she was admitted to the nearby Royal Preston Hospital and she died seven days later.

PC Rachel Carberry, a crash investigator, said equipment on the bus showed it had travelled only a metre and was mving at just one mile an hour when Mrs White fell.

Coroner Ms Jones said: “I don’t believe that the bus driver did anything that could be criticised – and neither did Mrs White. It was, I think, one of those true accidents.