Sleeping bus driver risked lives of young dancers

A 58-year-old bus driver has been charged with reckless driving after falling asleep behind the wheel and veering into a ditch.

The sleeping driver risked the lives of 18 passengers when he crashed the bus while travelling at a speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) near Hedesunda in eastern Sweden in June 2006.

The public prosecutor has called for the driver to be jailed for causing bodily harm, a crime that carries a maximum four year sentence.

The passengers consisted of a group of young people and their guardians who were returning from an international disco dancing competition in Slovakia.

“I’ll never forget the feeling I had before my son answered and I knew he was still alive,” Eva-Lotta Mann told Gefle Dagblad. The woman had accompanied her son to the tournament and was on the bus at the time of the crash.

Many of the passengers were seriously injured, although the driver was worst affected. He smashed his head against the windscreen, his legs were badly mangled and he suffered internal bleeding.

“He had to stay in hospital for a long time. It wasn’t certain that he was going to survive,” said Eva Lotta Mann.

The 58-year-old denies having committed any crime.