Olisofa Popoola, a Nigerian bus driver, has been charged with causing a fatal crash that resulted in the death of a pedestrian outside Victoria Station in London. Popoola was driving an electric 507 single decker bus when he collided with another 507 bus that was waiting to collect passengers at the station. As a result of the crash, Melissa Burr, a 32-year-old pedestrian who was crossing the road in front of the first bus, was knocked down and crushed under the vehicle, leading to her untimely death.
The trial for the incident is currently underway at the Old Bailey, where jurors have heard that Popoola may have pressed the accelerator instead of the brake, causing the fatal crash. Despite hitting the other bus, Popoola continued to drive forward, which resulted in Ms Burr being hit and trapped under the vehicle.
According to the prosecutor, Alexander Williams, the crash occurred at around 8:25 am on August 10, 2021, when Burr was crossing the road with two colleagues. Victoria station was particularly busy that day, with the Circle and District lines closed and commuters taking to the buses. Popoola was the third 507 bus to arrive at the parking bay. When the first vehicle departed, the driver of the other 507 bus, Diana Mathuranayagam, moved into the vacant space. Popoola then finished a phone call to his niece and decided to move his bus forward. However, he moved at twice the speed of Mathuranayagam’s manoeuvre, at around 10mph.
CCTV footage of the incident showed Popoola pressing the accelerator with his foot and Burr as she attempted to cross the road before being hit. The parked bus that Popoola hit lurched forward, hitting Burr and causing her to be propelled up and forward. The bus then continued moving forward, running over Burr and ultimately causing her death.
Although Popoola admitted to causing the crash, he argued that it was careless rather than dangerous driving. At the scene of the crash, he told police that his foot had slipped off the brake and onto the accelerator, causing him to collide with the bus in front. However, the prosecutor argued that even if Popoola unintentionally pressed the accelerator when he meant to press the brake pedal, this does not excuse his driving, which fell far below the standard one would expect of a careful and competent driver.
Popoola has pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving but denies causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He expressed his condolences to Burr’s family, saying that he does not know what happened and that he just wanted to move his bus forward, but the collision occurred before he knew it.