Appeal Court upholds Kuopio bus crash verdict

The bus driver was sentenced to prison last year for his involvement in the 2018 crash that claimed the lives of four people and injured 22 others.

The crash in the summer of 2018 was one of the worst traffic accidents in recent Finnish history. Image: Antti Karhunen / Yle

The Eastern Finland Court of Appeal has upheld the verdict and sentence handed by North Savo District Court in the case of a 2018 bus crash in Kuopio, eastern Finland that claimed four lives and injured 22 others.

Nearly one year ago the district court sentenced the bus driver to a year and 10 months in prison after finding him guilty of four counts of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of aggravated bodily injury as well as aggravated endangerment of traffic safety.

The 69-year-old driver appealed the district court's verdict, arguing that he should be convicted on non-aggravated charges and the prison term reduced to a suspended sentence.

Driver was "erratic and reckless"

The accident occurred in August 2018, when the chartered bus struck five cars on a motorway ramp before falling off a bridge onto a railway track.

Story continues after the photo.

The chartered bus struck five cars on a motorway ramp before falling off a bridge onto a railway track. Image: Matti Myller / Yle

The district court ruled that the driver had neglected a number of crucial responsibilities of road traffic and heard from witnesses that, before the crash, passengers on the bus had expressed concern to him that he was driving erratically and recklessly.

He was driving well over the speed limit at the time of the accident and at one point was driving with the bus doors open.

The court also ordered the driver to pay damages to the victims and their families, as well as legal costs, totalling about 100,000 euros.