Market Rasen school bus driver guilty of drink driving

GUILTY: David Snell
GUILTY: David Snell
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A FORMER police officer got drunk then crashed and overturned a minibus taking autistic children home from school.

The children were left with terrible cuts and bruises and some have been psychologically scarred but driver David Snell, 55, of The Brambles, Middle Rasen walked free from Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday with a £600 fine and 28-month driving ban.

Snell, who worked for Blanchards Taxis in Market Rasen, took special needs children from Louth and Market Rasen to and from school in Gainsborough everyday.

On Monday, February 20 he was heading home with seven pupils when he lost control and ploughed his minibus into a field in Top Road, Osgodby.

The court heard how the children’s carer – who broke her collar bone in the crash – later told police Snell appeared to be having difficulty controlling the vehicle.

Snell – who worked as a police officer in Market Rasen about ten years ago - had to be cut from the bus and was airlifted to hospital with a serious back injury and cracked ribs.

When a blood sample was taken later that night Snell was about two times over the legal drink-drive limit.

Defending, Bill Miller said Snell had not drunk any alcohol on the day of the crash but had been drinking at the weekend.

Mr Miller said Snell – who previously had a clean driving licence - could not remember how the crash happened.

Blanchards Taxis owner Tony Blanchard said Snell had taken the children to school that morning as well.

Snell, who has not been able to drive since injuring his right arm in the crash, admitted the drink-driving charge and offered an apology to his passengers.

Chairman of the bench Mrs Du’chesne said even though Snell had crashed a bus carrying “vulnerable” passengers she was unable to give him a community punishment – he would not be able to do it due to injuries sustained in the crash.