Impaled bus driver overturns sacking
A bus driver sacked after a road accident that left him impaled had his employer's decision to fire him overturned.
Stephen Charnock was dismissed by Stagecoach last May after he was unable to give the bus firm a return to work date, due to the severity of his injuries.
The company also demanded he pay back some of his sick pay after an “administrative error” led to him being paid too much.
The 39-year-old from Pemberton said: “When the accident happened, my boss came to see me. He told me not to worry because it was industrial injury, so I would get full pay.
“But five weeks later, 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 with how they treated me.”
But a year on from the debacle, Stephen has successfully had both decisions reversed.
Stephen, who had been a bus driver for more than 20 years, said: “I fought them for about five months to make them overturn the decision.
“They were saying it was a straightforward road traffic collision, but it was declared an industrial accident.
“They paid me everything I was owed, and they offered me the job back.”
Despite the decision, Stephen turned down the chance to return to bus driving.
“Obviously I couldn’t take it back. It wouldn’t have been nice for either of us, so I turned it down.”
Stephen was driving a school bus through Culcheth in November 2015, when he was involved in a head on collision.
The bus, which had no children onboard at the time, veered off the road and ploughed through a fence into a farm field.
The fence smashed through the dashboard and impaled Stephen, trapping him for over three and a half hours before firefighters cut him out.
The events had long-term effects on Stephen, who has been out of work ever since it occurred.
“It’s taken its toll on me mentally, but I’m trying to move on.
“I’m still trying to get back into work as soon as I’m better, but I keep getting back pains.
“Hopefully there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.”
A spokesman for Stagecoach said: “We liaised closely with Mr Charnock following the accident to try to find a solution that works for him.
“While he is no longer employed by Stagecoach, we wish him the best for the future.”