the driver sentenced to five years in prison, including one year firm

Photo taken shortly after the school bus accident in Millas (Pyrénées-Orientales), December 14, 2017.

Did the school bus driver ” mistake “ that day in December 2017, by entering the Millas level crossing (Pyrénées-Orientales), causing a collision with a TER and costing the lives of six children? Yes, judged the criminal court of Marseille – the only city with Paris to host a center specializing in collective accidents. Nadine Oliveira, 53, was sentenced to five years in prison, four of which were suspended, on Friday November 18.

The majority of the trial took place in the absence of the defendant, still hospitalized in psychiatry. On September 22, just four days after the start of his trial for manslaughter and involuntary injury, Nadine Oliveira, 53, had been as “lightned”, in the words of one of his lawyers. Taken by an irrepressible fit of tears, she ended up being evacuated by the firefighters.

Hearing the heartbreaking stories of some of the 17 teenagers injured in this tragedy, on December 14, 2017, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, has greatly “affected” : for the first time, she visualized the wounds of children, “it was as if reality was surfacing, whereas until now, it had all remained very theoretical for her”commented his lawyer, Mr.e Jean Codognes. Absent from the last two weeks of her trial, Ms. Oliveira, the only defendant in this case, was first admitted to cardiology, before joining a psychiatric hospital in Marseille.

His lawyer hoped for a release, but prosecutor Michel Sastre had requested a sentence of five years’ imprisonment, four of which were suspended on probation, accompanied by obligations of care and compensation for victims. He had also requested the cancellation of his tourist and passenger transport driving licenses, as well as a permanent ban on exercising a professional activity in connection with children.

“Denial”, “lack of empathy” and “defense mechanism”

Because for the representative of the public ministry, this “tragedy” is indeed the result of a ” mistake “ of the driver, due to her inattention and recklessness. Before the tragedy, Nadine Oliveira had taken this level crossing N.25 almost 400 times, and she had never seen it closed. During the investigation as at the hearing, she always maintained that the barriers were open on the day of the tragedy, despite the expertise and certain testimonies, in particular that of a young girl seated at the front of the bus. She also mentioned a ” black hole “ at the time of the accident. But “the problem with the file is not to know if the barrier was raised or lowered, it is to have proof that it was lowered”insists M.e Codognes.

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Many civil parties saw a form of denial in the driver: “It is not a question of contesting the suffering of Mrs. Oliveira, but we would have liked that [cette souffrance] not be carried as a banner of his innocence but as recognition of his responsibility.had thus pleaded Me Marie Mescam, representative of the families of a deceased child and seven survivors.

There are “lack of empathy” at Mrs. Oliveira’s, but “I have not seen in [son] attitude an absolute denial of what has been committed”qualified the prosecutor: she “says what his brain thinks is the truth”, so as not to sink completely. An analysis shared by one of the psychiatric experts who came to testify at the bar. This denial corresponds to “an unconscious defense mechanism”explained Françoise Grau-Espel, who had examined Ms. Oliveira just a month after the accident, in early 2018: “We cannot at all speak of lying or manipulation”.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers At the trial of the Millas bus accident, the driver, the experts, and the denial

For one of the young victims, now almost of age and who lost a leg in the accident anyway, “The driver is already dead” : She is “imprisoned in itself”she had launched, through the voice of her lawyer.

The World with AFP

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