A SCHOOL bus driver who left a teenage girl seriously injured when he knocked her down while over the drug-drive limit has avoided going behind bars.

Trevor Sillett, 59, struck grammar school student Elsie Allen as he attempted to pass another coach that had stopped in front of him.

As Elsie, 15, got off the coach and walked across the road when she was hit by the double decker.

She suffered two bleeds on the brain, broken ribs, damage to her lungs, a broken nose and remained unconscious in hospital for several days.

Luckily she made a miraculous recovery but has been left with long-term hearing damage.

After the collision in Lytchett Matravers, Sillett tested positive for THC, the active compound in cannabis. He was found to have 3.5 times the legal limit in his blood.

Dorset Echo: The incident happened in Wareham Road, Lytchett Matravers. Picture: BNPSThe incident happened in Wareham Road, Lytchett Matravers. Picture: BNPS (Image: BNPS)

Despite this Sillett denied taking the drug yet failed to provide an explanation for how it got into his system.

He admitted a charge of driving a motor vehicle while over the drug-drive limit.

Deputy district judge David Bolton gave Sillett a 12-week suspended sentence, a four-week curfew between 8pm and 6am and banned him from driving for 18 months.

Nicola Reece, prosecuting, said: "On March 21 this year he (Sillett) was driving a double decker bus on Wareham Road when he was forced to pass a stationary bus.

"He did stop at the scene and he did cooperate when the police asked for samples of his blood.

"The tests came back showing significant quantities of cannabis.

"He continued to cooperate with further samples that showed he had 6.9 micrograms when the legal limit is two micrograms."

Poole Magistrates' Court heard Sillett had no previous convictions, had been a bus driver for 14 years and had a clean driving licence.

Dorset Echo:

James Moore, defending, told the court that Sillett would lose his job if banned from driving.

Mr Moore said: "Mr Sillett has maintained that he cannot explain the cannabis in his system.

"There are regular random drug tests carried out by Damory Coaches on their employees.

"He has been drug tested before and nothing has ever come up.

"There isn't any evidence that his judgement was impaired, after the incident he maneuvered the bus to safely park and return to the scene.

"It's a strange situation and we have had previous situations where these readings can be wrong.

"I know it will be unsatisfactory for the court but he says it is a genuine mystery and that he is not a user of cannabis."

Dorset Echo: Poole Magistrates' CourtPoole Magistrates' Court

Judge Bolton said: "A young school child was hit by this bus and injured but you pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity.

"The charge is drug driving and I have no information about why that occurred.

"It forms no part of the judgement I am making today.

"The offence you committed is made more serious because of the vehicle you were driving.

"There is a heightened responsibility when driving a school bus.

"I have looked at the report by the probation service and you have good character with a very low chance of reoffending."

Sillett, of Wardon Hill, near Dorchester, will also pay £213 for court fees and as surcharge.

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