A Hove bus driver has won praise for his quick-thinking and prompt actions at the scene of what was described as a horrific crash in Brighton.
Duncan Lustig-Prean was first on the scene after the head-on crash on the A259 seafront road – Marine Drive – at Roedean on Wednesday 30 November.
His cool head and prompt actions ensured that the casualties were stabilised and may even have saved at least one life.
Mr Lustig-Prean, 52, a Brighton and Hove Buses driver for three years, said: “I was the first on the scene following the crash.
“The road was blocked by debris and vehicles and one vehicle’s engine was on fire.
“I advised passengers on my bus and an off-duty Whitehawk driver stayed with the bus while I took the fire extinguisher and put out the fire.
“I evacuated two casualties from their vehicle to the roadside.
“Two people identified themselves as first aid experienced and I used one to support the stable serious casualty and the other to check all vehicles for other casualties. I formed a triage centre close by.”
He triaged the casualties including a 21-year-old woman with a life-threatening injury, a 21-year-old man with a suspected neck injury and four others.
A South East Coast Ambulance Service crew arrived after ten minutes and Mr Lustig-Prean helped with the spinal board and neck collar and the seriously injured pair.
After liaising with Sussex Police officers he hopped back behind the wheel of his bus.
PC Ruth Donald said in a report about the incident: “When I arrived at his side he had wrapped up the shocked female passenger with lots of coats and was supporting her neck and keeping it very still as she was complaining of neck pain and was very distressed.
“There were a further two injured parties out of the three vehicles involved in the collision.
“The scene was the worst scene we had ever seen.”
Her colleague PC Donna Bagguley has been an officer for 15 years.
PC Donald said: “There was debris everywhere. A lump of metal had even travelled over the fence of Roedean School.
“When we first arrived on the scene we were sure there would be at least one fatality.”
Three people were treated in hospital and expected to recover.
She added: “The bus driver remained very calm and professional and without his actions I can only imagine that the situation would have been a lot worse.
“Even the paramedic staff commented on how he dealt with the situation and were very impressed with his knowledge of first aid.”
She commended his actions to Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, the police divisional commander for Brighton and Hove.
Roger French, the managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses, said: “I am very proud of Duncan’s actions and thank him for a fantastic job.”
His actions were reported in the current issue of Infolink, the bus company’s staff magazine.