A bus driver has faced court, accused of being on his mobile phone before a horrific crash with a scooter that left two men dead in Sydney’s south.
Police rushed to Kingsgrove Road in Kingsgrove shortly before 8.30pm last night after the scooter, carrying the two men, collided with a public bus and then another car.
Luis Roja, 49, has since been charged with multiple offences after allegedly crashing into the stationary scooter – believed to have been on a food delivery at the time of the crash – while it was turning right.
The force of the incident then allegedly nudged the scooter into oncoming traffic.
“We heard a bang, it wasn’t so much two cars colliding, it was a bit weird – it was a real dull kind of bang,” a local resident told 9News.
“I just (saw) a car dragging a body and she stopped, and she drove, and then she stopped again and turned… but the body was still under the car.”
Both of the men, aged 32 and 28 and believed to be from the nearby suburb of Hurstville, suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene.
Both the driver of the bus and the car were uninjured and were taken to hospital for mandatory tests.
While authorities who spent most of today investigating the incident believed the crash to have been another tragic accident at a local blackspot, police claim CCTV vision recorded on the bus shows the driver allegedly acting negligently.
In the vision, the driver was also allegedly trying to click in his seatbelt and was seen adjusting his side mirror within the final 700 metres before the point of impact.
“There has been some CCTV which shows he was on his mobile phone, not wearing a seat belt at the time,” Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy told reporters today.
Mr Roja has been charged with two counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, two counts of negligent driving occasioning death, one count of using his mobile phone and one count of not wearing his seatbelt.
He was refused bail and appeared in Sutherland Local Court today where he applied for it again. Despite that, he was formally refused bail a second time.
A spokesperson for Transit Systems, the company the driver is believed to have been employed by, has offered the company’s condolences to the families of the victims.
“We are absolutely devastated for all of those involved and our deepest sympathies are with the families,” the statement said.
“We are committed to the highest safety standards and will work with all relevant authorities to fully investigate the matter, as well as conduct an internal investigation.
“The driver has been stood down pending Police and internal investigations.
“All of our bus drivers undergo regular driver training sessions and hold a Bus Driver Authority.
“The driver involved in this incident is fully authorised and licenced, and has 11 years bus driving experience.”
The incident came at the end of NSW Police’s “Operation Safe Return” over the long weekend, which ended at midnight last night.
Over the course of the long weekend, five people lost their lives on NSW roads, two more than the previous long weekend last year.
The operation also issued 8257 infringements to drivers, not including 4584 speed infringements.
Police also carried out 190,870 breath tests resulting in 271 drink-driving charges.