Drunk grabbed steering wheel from driver after getting on wrong bus

David Hughes was on a Go North East X1 service in Washington, when he grabbed the bus's steering wheel.
David Hughes was on a Go North East X1 service in Washington, when he grabbed the bus's steering wheel.
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Horrified passengers looked on as a drunken man grabbed the steering wheel of a late-night bus.

David Hughes, 57, tried to steer the vehicle towards the kerb after he realised he was on the wrong bus while on his way home from a Christening celebration on Sunday, July 5.

There were several passengers on the bus who will no doubt have been shocked and horrified by what you did. God only knows what could have happened

Bench chairman, Mr Price

Hughes, of Charlbury Close, Springwell Village, Washington, had mistakenly got the Go North East X1 bus instead of the X50, Sunderland magistrates heard, and became angry when the driver insisted he could not let him off until the next stop.

Hughes was fined £185, ordered to pay £85 costs, a £180 courts charge and a £20 surcharge.

Magistrates chairman John Price, said: “There were several passengers on the bus who will no doubt have been shocked and horrified by what you did. God only knows what could have happened.”

The court heard the married father-of-two was on his way home at 11.25pm, when he realised his mistake and flew into a rage, demanding the driver stop the bus so he could get off.

Glenda Black, prosecuting, said: “The driver’s explained to him that he couldn’t stop the bus because it is not near a stop and the next stop was The Galleries. Hughes then repeatedly swore and teld the driver to stop the bus, while banging on the cab.

“He was asked to be quiet and to sit down until the next stop.”

She added: “He then tried to grab the driver’s arm and attempted to get into the driver’s cab. The driver slowed the vehicle but the defendant managed to grab hold of the bus’s steering wheel and attempted to pull the bus to the left.”

She said the driver managed to bring the bus to a halt without incident and pressed his emergency button, alerting police.

Hughes pleaded guilty to endangering road users by interfering with a motor vehicle.

A probation report said Hughes has been unable to work for several years since suffering a stroke and was on medication.

“Alcohol seems to be the main factor in this offence,” the report said. “He had been to a friend’s grandson’s christening function. He didn’t have too much to drink, about six pints, but would agree that he was under the influence.”

Robin Ford, defending, said Hughes was “very remorseful” for what he had done, and that he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Mr Price, said: “This incident on the bus horrified us when we first heard about it. It was very unsavoury indeed on a public service bus at that time of night.

“We’ve heard you were very embarrassed about this incident afterwards. But, nevertheless, we were shocked and saddened to hear what happened.”

Nick Lloyd, road safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “Passengers impairing a driver, either physically or verbally, by distracting them is extremely dangerous.

“Passengers should not restrict a driver’s ability to safely control the vehicle and must not intervene unless there are exceptional circumstances such as when the driver is overcome by a sudden medical condition which adversely affects their ability to safely control the vehicle.”