A BUS driver from Wallingford who was caught on CCTV losing control of his double decker vehicle and sending a pedestrian flying through the air has avoided going to prison.

A judge said today that it was a miracle no-one was badly hurt as the bus careered off the road on a bend. The footage of the incident went viral as it was played around the world.

The remarkable CCTV footage showed the pedestrian being 'wiped out' and amazingly getting straight back up on his feet and walking into a popular pub in Reading.

Judge Paul Dugdale began his sentencing of 40-year-old driver Cheikh Senghor by mentioning the viral nature of the CCTV video. He said: “I, like most of the nation, have watched this video. I could not make out what route this bus was meant to be taking.”

Senghor had already admitted dangerous driving when he first appeared at Reading Magistrates' Court and had explained how the bus had 'surged' as hybrid buses were known to and he had panicked before pressing the accelerator instead of the brake.

The Oxford Times:

Judge Dugdale alluded to this in his summary before sentencing the Reading Buses bus driver to an eight month jail term, suspended for 12 months. He said: “I accept that, as raised on your behalf, that as you were driving it, the hybrid has surged - as they have a habit of doing and as other drivers have said.

“On this occasion it surged as you headed into a slight chicane and you panicked. The bus shot forward out of control and it is clear that you have lost control.

“It veers left into the Purple Turtle at that moment. The pedestrian, Simon Smith, had his back to you and your bus has caught him square on the back. It is nothing short of a miracle that he got up and walked straight into the Purple Turtle.

“This was not without injury though. He was taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital with two fractures, one to his shoulder and one to his ribs. This has caused him excruciating pain for a number of months and has had an ongoing impact.

“It (the CCTV) is a piece of footage that has been widely seen and watched, which I suspect has made it harder for you and Mr Smith both. It is an area well known to many people in court today, between the Oracle shopping centre and John Lewis and before the Purple Turtle.”

Defending Senghor, from St. John's Road, Wallingford, South Oxon., Alex Dos Santos read out a message that the bus driver had wished to give to the man he ran over in the footage.

The Oxford Times:

Picture - INS

It said: “I am terribly sorry, it is the last thing I wanted to happen. I wish you a speedy recovery if that is not the case already and a return to normal life.

“I am also a father and deeply regret any of the consequences, I hope your son soon finds peace. Given any opportunity I would like to say this to you.”

Mr Dos Santos added: “He immediately left the bus and went to the aid of the man he hit, before ringing for the emergency services. He has a completely clean driving licence and has never been in trouble before.

"Added to this, someone helped themselves to his rucksack at the time and this included his passport which has only caused further problems.

“He has previously been labelled as a responsible and safe driver. In his police interview he showed great remorse and revealed he thought he had killed someone. He is still haunted by the image of the pedestrian heading through the air and has apologised on numerous occasions.”