Relatives Are Being Supported By Irwin Mitchell
The sentencing of Stagecoach, also known as Midland Red South, and bus driver Kailash Chander, in connection with the death of Rowan Fitzgerald has ended today.
Stagecoach was fined £2.3 million after it pleaded guilty last year to two offences contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act by allowing Kailash Chander to work. Kailash Chander, a former mayor of Leamington Spa received a two-year supervision order. He had previously been ruled mentally unfit to stand trial due to dementia.
Rowan’s family have now issued the following statement following today’s hearing.
“The events of the day when Rowan was taken from us still feel as raw today as they did three years ago.
“There is not a day goes by where our family does not think of Rowan and we are all still struggling to make sense of his death which has left us serving a life sentence of heartache, grief and pain.
“We will always feel anger over the cruel and unnecessary way Rowan died. Anger at not only the driver, Kailash Chander, but also the bus company, which we feel did not do enough to stop the driver being a danger to others.
“It will always be our view that Kailash Chander should have known he posed a risk to other road users. He had been working 75 hour weeks and had received warnings about his driving ability – warnings we feel he chose to ignore with devastating consequences.
“We feel Kailash Chander’s employer Midland Red South is equally at fault. The company had a duty to protect all the passengers on the bus that day.
“Instead the company allowing the driver to get behind the wheel and him not being fit to drive ripped our family apart.
“We will never forget Rowan. He was the most handsome little boy with a heart of gold.
“There is not a day goes by where we don’t miss his sweet little face. This has destroyed our lives. It kills us every day knowing we will never get the chance to watch him grow up.
“We can’t help but think about what Rowan would look like now; what his voice would sound like and what his hobbies and interests would be. It pains us when we realise we will never know.
“Midland Red South and the driver have robbed us of our beautiful boy who had a great life ahead of him.
“All we can hope for now is that Rowan’s death acts as a warning of the dangers motorists pose to innocent people by getting behind the wheel whilst unfit to drive – whether that be through tiredness or deteriorating driving ability.
“Our family would like to thank the emergency services and members of the public for everything they did to help our family that day and everything they have done since during the course of the investigation.
“We would also like to thank everyone for the love and support they have shown us following Rowans death.”
Rebecca Hearsey, specialist road accident lawyer at Irwin Mitchell is representing the family.
Expert Opinion“This is a truly tragic case which has had devastating consequences for all of Rowan’s family. Their lives have been turned upside down by the events that happened that day.
“Many people will be shocked at not only the driver seemingly thinking it was acceptable to work so many hours a week, but also at the actions of his employer who appeared not to challenge him on this as well as his driving conduct. The company failed appropriately to deal with concerns raised by members of the public as well as other employees and allowed the risks posed by Kailash Chander to continue unabated.
“Rowan’s death is a stark reminder of the dangers drivers pose to other road users by driving when tired.
“Irwin Mitchell joins Rowan’s family in urging motorists not to ignore the signs of tiredness or deteriorating driving ability and in also reminding employers of their responsibility in protecting their employees and in turn other road users.
“Families such as Rowan’s should not have to experience years of grief because of the irresponsible actions of drivers and companies who employ professional drivers.
“We will continue to support Rowans family through this incredibly difficult time.” Rebecca Hearsey - Senior Associate Solicitor
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling road traffic collision cases.