Driver of punk band coach that plunged off viaduct to be charged

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The driver of a Southampton-bound coach that plunged 30ft off a viaduct is to be charged with dangerous driving.

Norman Markus was driving the coach carrying US punk rock band Baroness when it crashed through a safety barrier on August 15.

Nine people were on board the vehicle when the accident happened at Brassknocker Hill, Monkton Combe, near Bath.

Several of the band members suffered minor injuries and one suffered a broken arm and leg.

German national Mr Markus, 39, faces a number of other charges in relation to the incident.

Andrew Walters, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ''The CPS has authorised Norman Markus to be charged with dangerous driving; using a vehicle in a condition likely to cause danger of injury; using a vehicle with defective brakes; contravening a 7.5-tonne weight limit and driving otherwise than in accordance with driving licence in relation to the incident.

''We have also authorised charges of exceeding 4.5 hours driving with insufficient break; insufficient daily rest; exceeding 10 hours driving between daily rest periods; and failure to commence a weekly rest.

''This has been a very complicated investigation and we have worked closely with Avon and Somerset Police's collision investigation unit throughout.''

Markus is due to appear at Bath Magistrates' Court on April 15.

Baroness, from Savannah in Georgia, were on the British leg of their European tour, and travelling from Bristol to a gig in Southampton when the crash happened at the junction of Brassknocker Hill and the A36 at around 11.30am.

The band was formed in 2003 and its line-up consists of John Baizley, Peter Adams, Matt Maggioni and Allen Blickle.

They were taken to Bath's Royal United Hospital while the coach driver was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

Frontman Baizley, who underwent eight hours of surgery, suffered a badly broken arm and leg.

Drummer Blickle and bassist Maggioni suffered fractured vertebrae, and guitarist Adams escaped with minor injuries.

Following the crash they received hundreds of messages of support including one from rock star Alice Cooper.

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Comments

9:00pm Wed 6 Feb 13 wake up says…

well it's a step up from stage diving , perhaps it might catch on ..

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