Bus driver granted bail after death of 14-year-old boy

Teenager hit by schoolbus dies

A bus driver whose vehicle mounted the kerb outside a school fatally colliding with a 14-year-old boy in Sydney’s south-west has been granted bail.

Penina Lopesi, 54, appeared before Liverpool Local Court on Thursday a day after the tragic accident near the chapel at Macarthur Anglican School in Cobbitty.

Taken to Liverpool Hospital in a critical condition, the boy died a short time later.

Supported by her husband and eight children who filled the courtroom on Thursday, Lopesi was granted bail provided she surrender her passport and refrain from going within 5km of Macarthur Anglican School.

She was also barred from getting into the driver’s seat of any vehicle, and has to report to police three times a week.

These conditions, as well as her strong family support, mitigated concerns by police prosecutors that she would fail to attend court in future and remained a risk to the community.

Outside court, Lopesi’s lawyer Mostafa Daoudie said his client had been impacted by the tragedy and requested her privacy.

“There are no winners in these types of cases. It’s a very unfortunate event,” he said.

On the day of the incident, the 54-year-old was taken to Liverpool Police Station for mandatory testing, and was later arrested and charged. Her licence was also suspended.

She faces one count of dangerous driving occasioning death and another count of negligent driving occasioning death.

Inquiries about the cause of the accident are still in their early days.

“I accept at this stage there is no explanation for the conduct and there is nothing to suggest there was a medical issue or any fault of the vehicle,” the magistrate said in granting bail.

The 54-year-old remained still for some period after the accident in “some kind of shock”, prosecutors told the court.

Investigations into Lopesi’s health or any engineering issues with the bus are ongoing.

On Thursday, Macarthur Anglican School headmaster Dr David Nockles said the vehicle had lost control as it exited the bus bay, mounted the kerb and struck the boy who was in Year 9.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the boy’s family, including his brother in Year 11, as they deal with unimaginable grief and heartache,” Dr Knockles said.

“The school appreciates the tangible support for our school community as we work through this terrible shock and loss to the wider Macarthur family.”

Outside counsellors have been brought in from other Christian schools, Anglicare, the police and the ambulance service to assist students and staff alongside the school’s pastoral care team.

The matter will next come before Campbelltown Local Court on April 12.


Topics: NSW
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