Bus driver: ‘I was impaled in crash, then fired’

Bus driver Stephen Charnock
Bus driver Stephen Charnock

A bus driver, who is still recovering after he was impaled by a fence in an accident that wasn’t his fault, has said he is disgusted that the company he was working for has now fired him.

Stephen Charnock, who lives in Worsley Mesnes, was on his way to pick up pupils in his Stagecoach school bus on November 4 last year in Culcheth when he was involved in a head on collision that left him with severe injuries.

Photo of the injuries after the crash

Photo of the injuries after the crash

He claims that Stagecoach originally told him he was covered by the company because it was an industrial accident and he continued to receive full pay. But they have since denied this, and not only stopped paying him his full weekly wage but asked him to pay some of the money back.

A few weeks later, Mr Charnock says Stagecoach dismissed him from the position he had held for five years because he couldn’t give them a date that he would be able to return to work.

Stephen, 38, said: “On the day of crash I was just driving down the road when somebody came on my side and they hit me head on.

“I veered off to the left through a farmer’s fence into a field. The fence came through the dashboard and impaled me. It took them three and a half hours to cut me out.

I veered off to the left through a farmer’s fence into a field. The fence came through the dashboard and impaled me. It took them three and a half hours to cut me out

Stephen Charnock

“It has affected the ligaments around my spine that are taking a long time to heal and I am having counselling every week as well as talking antidepressants for depression and anxiety. It has really impacted on my life.

“When the accident happened my boss came to see me. He told me not to worry because it was an industrial injury I would get full pay. But about five weeks ago they told me it wasn’t an industrial accident because it wasn’t in the depot.

“Then they dismissed me because my doctors couldn’t tell them how long it would be before I could come back. I am disgusted how they have treated me.”

A Stagecoach Manchester spokesman, said: “Our first concern following this accident has always been for Mr Charnock’s well-being but sadly, no business can continue to pay an employee sick pay indefinitely when a return to work date cannot be confirmed.

“Since the incident, we have provided on-going assistance to him and his family through transport requirements, counselling and measures to prepare him for a possible return to work.

“Mr Charnock received above the agreed level of sick pay due to an administrative error and, to ensure consistency with other employees, he has been asked to repay the additional money he received. We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused.”