A bus driver who collided with a teenager in Shoebury while under the influence of alcohol and drove away from the scene with passengers on-board has been jailed.
At Basildon Crown Court on Tuesday December 17, Andrew Aldridge, 49, of Princes Street, Southend, was sentenced to 18 months for dangerous driving and four months concurrent for driving with excess alcohol.
He received no separate penalty for failing to stop and he has been disqualified from driving for six years.
On Tuesday February 26, Aldridge turned up at the Arriva bus depot at around 9.30am and commenced his shift as a driver of a double decker bus.
At around 10.20am he stopped his bus in a layby at Centurion Close and walked into a shop where he purchased a bottle of alcohol.
He returned to his vehicle minutes later and he is seen camera on pouring the alcohol into another bottle and drinking it.
Aldridge later picked up schoolchildren from two schools in Southend before driving up a hill in Ness Road and striking a teenager who was crossing the road.
Aldridge did not stop and continued driving – despite being told by passengers that he had collided with a pedestrian.
Following this, he put his bus out of service and all his passengers were asked to leave in Chichester Road.
Officers arrived at the scene and a breath test showed he was three times over the limit.
While being searched, officers also discovered an empty bottle of alcohol.
An air ambulance arrived at the scene and the teenage boy was taken to hospital where he stayed for three nights.
Investigating officer PC Gill Brettell, of Chigwell Roads Policing Unit, said: “Aldridge had a duty to keep his passengers and other road users safe and he failed this the moment he got behind the wheel of his double decker bus intoxicated.
“He was caught on camera parking his bus and buying alcohol before making attempts to disguise his actions.
“Worryingly, he had carried out his duties for almost five hours ahead of colliding with an innocent schoolboy who was on his way home.
“It was immediately obvious he had struck and injured the teenager, but continued to drive off, despite the concerns of his passengers.
“The victim has shown great bravery and had to overcome a serious head and foot injury, with the latter requiring surgery.”