Australia bus driver shows up in court following deadly crash that left 10 dead

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A 58-year-old wedding bus driver appeared in an Australian court Tuesday, charged with dangerous driving that caused the deaths of 10 guests.

Brett Andrew Button faces years in prison after police alleged he drove “too quick” in what were believed to be foggy conditions just before midnight Sunday, causing Australia’s deadliest road accident in 16 years.

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Button’s bus was carrying 35 passengers when it lost control at a roundabout and careened onto its side, killing nine people almost instantly.

Moments earlier, the passengers had been celebrating the wedding of a young couple at the nearby Wandin Estate Winery in Australia’s picturesque Hunter Valley wine region.

Another passenger later died in hospital.

Fourteen guests are still hospitalized, including one in intensive care.

A local man, Button appeared in Cessnock court, head bowed throughout the proceedings, prompting magistrate Robyn Richardson to express concern.

“I see here before me a man suffering,” she said, granting bail on the condition that Button does not approach prosecution witnesses or get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“I do have concerns for Mr Button’s wellbeing,” she said.

His alleged victims are said to be aged between 20 and 60 years. Besides those killed, passengers suffered injuries ranging from lacerations to breaks and fractures.

Police say they are still piecing together their investigation.

Officers have said that initial alcohol testing came back negative, but they pointed blame at “erratic” speeding that some passengers had reportedly complained about before the crash.

“We’ve obviously now charged that 58-year-old bus driver, we’ve charged him with 11 charges,” said Acting assistant police commissioner David Waddell.

“He entered that roundabout in a manner that was inconsistent with the conditions,” he added.

“Obviously, the speed was too quick for him to negotiate that roundabout, causing the vehicle to fall on its left side, and causing those injuries.”

The crash has caused widespread shock, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese leading condolences to the victims.

“For a joyous day like that in a beautiful place to end with such terrible loss of life and injury is so cruel and so sad and so unfair,” he said.

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