Samoa bus driver convicted and discharged
A bus driver escaped serious punishment in the Samoa District Court last week after facing charges of negligent driving causing death.
Lolesio Fiamatai, 37, was convicted and discharged.
His sole passenger died leaping off the bus that Fiamatai was trying to keep under control after the brakes failed. He steered the careering bus through traffic and then into thick bush.
“What had happened does not involve negligent driving because you told the passenger to get off the bus, you were also busy saving lives,” Her Honour, Judge Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren told Mr. Fiamatai.
“Not only that, when the incident happened, you were too occupied trying to control the bus from causing any further accidents amidst traffic.”
Police recounted events behind the accident on 29th July 2013.
The brakes on the “Queen Patsy” bus broke on the first hill, while it was climbing up Tiavi road.
According to the police summary of facts, the driver told passengers to get off the bus because he cannot safely continue to Apia.
Mr. Fiamatai called the owner of the bus who told him to drive the bus back home.
Mr. Fiamatai turned the bus around to go back downhill.
One passenger, Siapaia Fouvale, decided to go back with the driver.
Mr. Fiamatai used the hand brake to try and slow the bus down.
It didn’t work. Instead, the bus gathered speed and the driver tried his best to keep the bus on the road and avoid other vehicles.
Seeing the driver was looking for somewhere to crash, Mr. Fouvale decided to leap from the bus.
He died when he hit the ground.