UK bus driver for court over crash


The driver of a coach bringing British schoolchildren back from a ski trip that crashed yesterday in France is to appear in court later today.

Initial tests on the coach driver, who received minor injuries, showed he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and local police are believed to be investigating whether he might have fallen asleep at the wheel.

A teacher died in the crash and dozens of children were injured when the bus flipped over and plunged to the bottom of a motorway embankment near Reims in the Champagne-Ardenne region in the early hours of yesterday.

Peter Rippington was a “dedicated and inspirational teacher”, Bryan Maybee, chairman of governors of Alvechurch Middle School, said in a statement read outside the school today.

“He will be so sadly missed by all those who knew him,” he said.

Mr Rippington’s wife Sharon and daughter Amy were also injured in the crash, which involved 29 pupils from the school in Alvechurch, Worcestershire.

Chalons-en-Champagne prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny said today that 11 people remained in hospital, six of them seriously injured but he added that their condition was not life-threatening.

He said a 13-year-old girl had been transferred for treatment at the Necker children’s hospital in Paris, where she had undergone an operation.