I came across an old newspaper yesterday.
It was an Evening Press [anyone remember the Evening Press?] dated April the 22nd, 1971.
The front page was taken up with a story about a bus smash, where one bus had driven at speed head on into another.
I managed to grab a scan of the main photograph on the front page but the ravages of time are even beyond the skills of Gimp or Photoshop.
Now you may wonder why I would be hanging on to an old newspaper that is now forty three years out of date? Well, there is a little story behind that story.
You see I was on one of those buses [the one nearer the camera]. I was heading into work by bus as my motor bike had bust a crankshaft. As luck would have it, the driver was new to the route and this was his first drive. Naturally he took a wrong turn, and the passengers had to set him right, but by the time he turned the bus back and had taken the correct road he was way behind schedule.
He put the boot down.
Now we all knew about the sharp bend up ahead but he didn't. We yelled at him to slow down and he put the bus into a beautiful skid just as we entered the bend. Luckily there was another bus coming in the opposite direction and that stopped us flying into a field. We flew into the other bus instead.
Going from around forty miles an hour to a dead stop in a fraction of a second is not healthy. I can vouch for that. I was flung forward onto a handrail where I embedded my upper teeth in a steel bar which didn't do much for my appearance, my teeth, or the steel bar.
Seeing as it was two buses owned by the same company there was no problem about liability. However this was in the days before people became litigation crazy and I ended up getting my medical and dental bills paid and a couple of hundred for myself for my pains [which were considerable].
By sheer coincidence I noticed an item in a paper the other day.
Nine fucking MILLION?
Now the kid's injuries are horrific and I really wish him well, but I can't help but wonder.
How the fuck was it the bus company's fault? Even 70% at fault? The kid ran out in front of the bus and of all the people to blame, the last one is the bus driver. You can apportion blame to just about anyone in that sorry tale except the driver.
So now, once again, that nine million will filter back through the system until ultimately the tax payer foots the bill.
I wonder if it's too late for me to appeal my measly couple of hundred quid?