February 3, 2015 – 12:42AM
Emergency services work to free Christine Mulholland, who died in hospital after being hit by a bus on Clarence Street. Photo: Sahlan Hayes
Veteran bus driver Robert Reid took his eyes off the road for just a moment to wave at a colleague who had let him through a busy Sydney intersection.
That simple, polite gesture at the start of peak hour ended the life of publishing executive Christine Mulholland.
Mr Reid, a Sydney bus driver with nearly two decades’ experience, saw a fellow driver flash his lights to let him through the intersection of Clarence and Erskine Streets on the afternoon of January 29 last year, and looked over and waved.
Bus driver Robert Reid leaves court with his daughter on Monday.
He drove through the intersection and hit 52-year-old Christine Mulholland, leaving her trapped underneath the bus for hours. Ms Mulholland died later in hospital.
In Central Local Court on Monday, Mr Reid, 71, pleaded guilty to negligent driving occasioning death.
His barrister, Mark Cahill, told the court that Mr Reid was very remorseful and his mental health had suffered since the accident.
“Mr Reid openly concedes that he looked down and to the right and waved in the direction of the driver at a point in time when he was passing through the intersection. It is indeed a matter of deep regret,” Mr Cahill said.
“As a polite driver, acknowledging a colleague and acknowledging he’s done him a favour … it’s with the deepest of regret that that has occurred and the consequences are so enormous.”
The court heard the area around the intersection was also covered in “deep shadow”.
Mr Reid, supported by his wife and daughter, closed his eyes during some of the evidence and was visibly stressed during the hearing.
Ms Mulholland’s partner, Bruce Gentle, was also there, but did not address the court.
Prosecutor Mark Drury argued that although the accident was tragic, Mr Reid was in a position to see the road well from his elevated seat and should have been paying attention.
“I know these are tragic circumstances and both parties are hurting,” Mr Drury said.
“That intersection is quite heavy, [but] this is a regular route that the accused takes. It’s an area he’s familiar with, therefore he should know what the conditions are. He’s got a large vehicle under his control.”
Ms Mulholland was legally walking across the crossing, an area that should be “sacrosanct” for pedestrians, Mr Drury said.
Mr Reid will be sentenced on Thursday morning.
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald