Truck driver charged over school bus crash

A 42-year-old man has been charged with dangerous driving over a horror school bus crash last year which left more than 30 children injured in Ruatoki.

Police said the man was driving a logging truck that slammed into the back of a school bus while it was parked to drop children off south of Whakatane on September 5.

The bus and cab of the truck were shunted about 50m into a paddock while the trailer tipped on the road.

Many school children received minor to serious injuries, while an 8-year-old was left in a critical condition.

Bay of Plenty road policing manager Kevin Taylor said the crash was one of the worst his officers had ever attended.

It warranted a lengthy investigation, he said.

"This was a very serious crash - one of the worst and most upsetting, in terms of the number of young victims, that had ever been attended by many of our police staff and other emergency services.

"In order to do justice to the victims and their whanau, their schools, the local community and transport users around New Zealand, it was absolutely critical that the investigation was thorough and robust."

Inspector Taylor said the investigation and crash analysis had found the logging truck driver caused the crash when he failed to manoeuvre around the school bus.

Those findings had been reviewed at a district level.

The man charged over the crash will appear in the Whakatane District Court on February 23.   His charges carry a potential sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

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