Bus driver Graham Stanley bravely returned to work to debrief bosses a little over a day after a bus load of his young passengers were horrifically injured in Tuesday’s crash.
Graham Stanley, 52, of Melton, west of Melbourne’s CBD, was up at the crack of dawn to return to Christians Bus company despite still coming to the terms with his ordeal.
Mr Stanley’s wife Sussanne told Daily Mail Australia her husband had been deeply affected by the crash.
Bus driver Graham Stanley returns home with the aid of a crutch on Thursday
Bus driver and grandfather Graham Stanley (above, with wife Sussanne) bravely returned to work on Thursday to debrief with his bosses
Seven children remain in hospital following the horrific crash. Pictured is the bus wreckage at the intersection of Exford Road and Murphys Road in Eynesbury
‘It’s been very traumatic for him,’ she said. ‘Unfortunately the circumstances, that’s what’s happened, ‘ she said.
‘He’s doing okay. He’s got some injuries that he’s got to manage and deal with.’
Mr Stanley’s children rallied to the family home on Thursday to be close to their father, who arrived home with the aid of a crutch just before 3pm.
Mrs Stanley said they were limited in what they could discuss about the crash, which is still under investigation by specialist crash detectives.
The pair have also limited their intake of news bulletins on the crash in an effort to protect Mr Stanley’s mental wellbeing.
‘We’ve even stayed off the TV. We haven’t really been watching what’s been happening. We hear little bits and pieces but that’s it,’ she said.
Mr Stanley refused to speak to a waiting media pack, giving a thumbs-up to a friend who dropped him off at home.
A former workmate of Mr Stanley, who wished to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia he was a dedicated and much liked driver.
‘I talked to him every day I went in there. He’s not a bad sort of character,’ he said.
‘I only know that he had minor cuts and abrasions and of course after having to deal with … well, you use your imagination.’
The man suggested Mr Stanley was presented with a scene of absolute chaos.
‘What are you going to do when you’ve been hit up the a**e in a bus and then you’ve got all these kids hung up in seatbelts,’ he said.
‘Now you can’t undo a seatbelt when it’s under load, and everyone is on their side, so then he has to deal with that.
The school bus was allegedly struck from behind by a truck and flipped on the corner of Exford and Murphys Rd at Eynesbury, 56km from Melbourne about 3.40pm on Tuesday.
On board were 45 children from Exford Primary School, some of whom were left with life-changing injuries – with one student undergoing a ‘complete’ amputation and others losing parts of their limbs.
Truck driver and father-of-two Jamie Robert Gleeson, 49, was released on bail on Wednesday after being charged with four counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury.
Truck operator and Gleeson’s employer L & J Cartage issued a statement on Thursday.
‘Our hearts go out to everyone involved, especially the children and their families,’ the family-owned transport company said.
‘We are deeply shocked and saddened at what has happened.’
It also confirmed Gleeson had 20 years of experience driving trucks and had been with the company for more than 15 years.
With the help of family, Mr Stanley gives a thumbs-up after being dropped off at home on Thursday
A court heard on Wednesday how truck driver Jamie Gleeson (pictured) helped pull children from the wreckage of the bus moments after the crash
Truck driver Jamie Robert Gleeson (pictured left) allegedly told police he saw the ‘sun flicker’ between trees in the moments before the crash
The court heard on Wednesday that Gleeson told police he saw the ‘sun flicker’ between trees in the moments before the smash and also that he stopped at the scene after the accident, called triple-0 and began helping pull children from the wreckage.
Gleeson was still wearing an orange high-vis shirt when he appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Reading the police summary, prosecutor Ben Kerlin said Gleeson told police he was on his ‘usual route home’ at the time and driving about 70km per hour.
‘Next thing I know the bus in front slowed,’ he allegedly told police.
‘I tried to take evasive action but I couldn’t, and if I could have swerved around it I would have.’
Mr Kerlin said Gleeson recounted seeing ‘sun flickers’ from through trees which he knew could distort his vision.
‘Whether that played a part in what happened… I couldn’t tell you’, he said, according to the documents.
A school bus carrying children from Exford Primary School in Melbourne’s west was allegedly hit from behind by a truck and overturned
Gleeson allegedly told police he would usually react by slowing down in such circumstances, but on this occasion he did not.
The prosecutor told the court police would need a significant amount of time to prepare the case, requesting 16 weeks to account for the ‘large number of children involved’ and size of the collision.
He added Gleeson may face ‘additional charges’ as investigations into the crash continue.
Gleeson returned negative blood tests for both drugs and alcohol,
His lawyer successfully applied for bail saying there was ‘no allegation he tried to abscond or minimise his involvement’.
As of Thursday morning, seven children remain in hospital, including one in intensive care. All are in a stable condition.
The children sustained multiple and traumatic injuries ranging from partial to complete amputations, crushed limbs and severe lacerations to their heads and bodies.
Four will require further surgery.
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