Motor Bus Accident near Quorn 1918
Loughborough Herald - 4th July 1918
Shortly after 5pm on Tuesday week, an accident occurred to one of the Loughborough Road car 'buses. When descending the hill midway between Loughborough and Quorn, something went wrong with the steering gear, with the result that the 'bus got out of control, mounted the bank at the side of the road, and dashed into a tree. Fortunately there were only two passengers at the time, who escaped with slight cuts from broken glass, and were able to proceed home. The driver unhappily sustained injuries which eventually proved fatal.
An inquest was opened on Saturday, by Mr H J Deane, into the death of Thomas Sparks, of 3 Swingbridge Road, which had occurred at the hospital the previous day, as the result of an accident to a motor 'bus belonging to the Loughborough Road Car Company, of which he was the driver.
The bus was travelling to Quorn on Tuesday evening week, and when going down the hill by the Bull-in-the Hollow, it was noticed to be zig-zagging about the road. It then ran to the side and collided with a tree. Deceased got off and lay down complaining of injury to the stomach. He told the conductor that the steering-gear had broken, and he had hurt himself on the steering wheel. A lady on the road brought a metal cap, which was found to have come from the steering gear, and it was found that some bolts had come off. Deceased was taken to the Hospital, where he died on Friday.
Evidence of identity was given by the widow, who said her husband was 46 years of age, and had been driving the 'bus for about three months. He was in good health, and had "nerves of iron". Evidence of death was given by Nurse Hayward, from the Hospital, and the inquest was adjourned.
At the resumed proceedings, last evening, the Car Company was represented by Mr R S Clifford, jnr., who expressed their deep regret at the death of a valued employee and their sympathy with the family.
Joseph Boyer, of Quorn, passenger on the 'bus, said he noticed it zig-zagging after passing the White House. When going down the hill the zig-zagging became worse, and the 'bus ran into the side of the road and collided with a tree.
Dr Richardson said death was due to internal rupture and peritonitis.
Roland Clarke, conductor of the 'bus, said he noticed nothing unusual in the way the 'bus travelled until after passing the railway bridge. After the accident the driver told him the steering gear had broken, and that the had hurt his stomach on the steering wheel. The 'bus took a turn to the right and the driver pulled his steering wheel round, but it had no effect. A lady brought witness a metal cap, which was found to belong to the steering gear.
William Croson, the company's manager, said he examined the 'bus himself before it went out. It was in good running order, and had done 52 miles that day. The cap referred to held the steering arm, and was secured by three bolts, which were all right when the 'bus went out. This cap coming off was the cause of trhe accident, and he could only think that the bolts broke or were sheared, which he put down to the bad condition of the road. It was an instruction to the drivers to avoid the potholes.
The Coroner: "You set them a very hard task".
Witness added that the road was in a very bad condition in the vicinity where the accident occurred, and a Juryman remarked that he himself was thrown from his cycle near the spot that same evening. Walter Geo. Tollington, one of the company's bus drivers, also spoke to the 'bus being in good condition.
The Coroner commented on the responsibility of the company to see that their public vehicles were kept in good order, and it was notorious that the road between Loughborough and Leicester had been in a disgraceful state.
Returning a verdict of accidental death, the jury exonerated the company's officials from blame, and considered the car was in good condition when it started the journey and that the accident must be held to have been caused by the bad condition of the roads.