A 51-year-old former driver of Tebara Transport Limited testified in the Nausori Magistrates Court yesterday that he tried to control the steering wheel but was not successful.
Shiu Darshan was charged with one count of causing death by dangerous driving whereby he allegedly drove in a dangerous manner and caused the death of 42-year-old Jitendra Prasad.
The alleged incident happened on January 30, 2013 at about 6:05am along Bau Road in Nausori.
In his evidence, Darshan denied driving in a dangerous manner because something had happened to the bus while he was driving and he could feel the bus moving towards his left.
He said the steering wheel became free and he could not control the vehicle.
The court heard that he had left his home at about 5:30am and drove to the Nausori bus garage in his car.
He said he had been driving for 15 to 16 years till the day of the incident.
The accused said on that day he was scheduled to start pick up passengers from Waikete Village at 6:30am which was about 10 minutes away from the scene of the alleged incident.
Darshan said he drove at 35 kilometres per hour. He would have reached his destination at 6:15am which was well ahead of time.
When questioned he told Police Prosecutor Sergeant Mukesh Rao that he was not in a rush and was not speeding.
He said he would not be able to drive fast along that road because of its poor condition.
He told Magistrate Chaitanya Lakshman that he had been driving along that route for three to four years and he noticed the number potholes on that road increasing in number one week before the incident took place.
He said when the steering wheel became loose he tried to apply the brakes but the bus veered off the road and hit a pile of soil.
The court heard that the draggling arm of the bus had been welded and was covered in body filler (bonofill).
Defence lawyer Jitendra Reddy questioned the accused if he knew that the draggling arm which controls the steering wheel was modified to which he said he did not.
Mr Reddy questioned him if it was normal for bus companies to do modification on the draggling arm.
Darshan said it was not.
Magistrate Lakshman will deliver his judgment on April 10, 2018.
Darshan’s bail was extended