Coach driver Roy Tabberer was airlifted to hospital by Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance after he was knocked unconscious when his vehicle ploughed into a bungalow in the village of Welford on the Leicestershire/Northamptonshire border.
The accident was caused by an epileptic seizure – but that wasn’t diagnosed until six weeks later after he had another seizure at home.
Roy was driving back to the coach depot in Northampton when he blacked out and lost control of the steering wheel.
Luckily the coach was empty and – despite the bungalow being badly damaged by the impact – nobody else was hurt in the incident.
Roy was thrown head first to the bottom of the stairs by the coach door and was dragged unconscious out of the vehicle by the driver of a car that had been following the vehicle.
He has no memory of the accident and was told afterwards that had he been wearing a seatbelt – which was not compulsory at the time (2004) – he would have been killed instantly by parts of the building which pierced the coach.
“When I regained consciousness I thought I was dreaming. There were hands around my head and I tried to get them off me. But as soon as someone said they were from the ambulance I stopped fighting. I looked over and saw the coach embedded in the front of the bungalow,” he says.
The air ambulance had already landed near the scene and Roy was soon airlifted to Northampton General Hospital approximately 12 miles away. A journey which took just five minutes.
During the flight Roy made a joke about the noise of the helicopter which confirmed to the crew that his head injuries weren’t as serious as they could have been. He recalls:
“They apologised that there wasn’t a spare pair of ear defenders for me to put on and it was going to get noisy. But when the rotors started I said it was nothing compared to the noise of some of our buses! The paramedic commented that if I could make a witty reply that quickly I was going to be alright.”
The helicopter landed on open space near the hospital and he was transferred by land ambulance to the Accident & Emergency Department.
He was given a thorough examination and after three hours was discharged with a cut on his head and bruises all over his body.
Roy, from Fleckney in Leicestershire, was suspended from his job pending an investigation into the accident. When it was later discovered that he had epilepsy he was completely exonerated of any blame for the crash.
Since then he has been on medication – which keeps the condition under control –but this means he has had to relinquish his bus driver’s PSV licence. He is, however, able to drive a car.