Police praise coach passengers for stopping drunk bus driver

Police have praised the actions of a group of passengers who stopped a drink-driver’s terrifying coach journey from York.

Patrick Burke was driving a 50-seater coach on a return journey to Bolton after taking passengers on a Christmas shopping trip to York, police said. The passengers became concerned by his erratic manner of driving and called the police.

Burke hit the central barrier and weaved across the road before bringing the coach to stop at Bilborough Top, North Yorkshire Police said.

He was found to have 63 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – almost double the legal limit.

The 52-year-old coach driver from Cheadle, Cheshire, was banned from driving for three years when he appeared at Selby Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

He was also charged with failing to report a collision and driving without due care and attention following the incident on the A64 on December 5 last year.

As well as the driving ban, he was ordered to carry out 300 hours unpaid work, North Yorkshire Police confirmed.

Sergeant Hamish Halloway said it was one of the worst cases of drink-driving he had seen and he praised the actions of the passengers.

He said: “The passengers put their trust in Burke, a professional coach driver, but he chose to put the lives of both adults, children and other road users at significant risk.

“Without the quick-thinking actions of some of the adult passengers on the coach, the return journey to Manchester could have had far more serious consequences. Mr Burke’s actions can only amount to disgraceful.”

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