Mercy Shawn Mendes
A school bus driver who injured 12 students when he crashed his double-decker into a bridge in Darlington has been spared jail.
Trevor Wilson, 51, relied on a 17-year-old girl's directions and missed four warning signs before hitting the low bridge and ripping the bus roof off.
He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for 18 months by Darlington Magistrates after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.
The accident happened as he was taking pupils to Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College last September.
One student suffered a broken collarbone and 11 others needed hospital treatment after the crash in Neasham Road.
David Maddison, prosecuting, said:
"A witness described students on the top deck having a look of bewilderment as they disappeared when the bus hit the bridge.''
Wilson, from Wellington Walk, Stockton, Teesside, has 30 years' driving experience, 21 of them as a public service driver.
The court heard that he had driven only single-deckers for around a decade before the crash, and had not driven the school route before.
He lost his job when he was disqualified immediately after pleading guilty earlier this month.
Since the crash, Wilson has suffered mentally and said he will never drive a bus again