January 06, 2015
A First Bus driver has won praise from his passengers for his actions after an incident involving a hunting hound on the A37 near Farrington Gurney.
The driver was forced to make an emergency stop when the dog from the Mendip pack ran in front of the vehicle near an accident black spot with the junction of the A39.
Passengers on the Christmas Eve 376 service say it was fortunate that the bus was not travelling very fast at the time.
John McAllister, who was on the bus travelling to Bristol said the driver had reacted very quickly and had not swerved.
He said: “Nevertheless, passengers’ luggage flew to the front of the bus; fortunately nobody was hurt.
“The dog met the front offside of the bus with an audible and tactile thump.”
Mr McAllister said that passengers had been worried that the dog had been run over but it had struggled to its feet and run off.
But he said that while the driver had been very cool and handled the situation brilliantly the incident was very dangerous with potentially horrible consequences.
He said: “Apart from the dog, bus passengers could have been injured, or a more serious accident could have occurred.
“The owner of the dog was grossly irresponsible – allowing the animal to run free, and un-collared, so close to the main road.”
The incident also raised concerns that the hunt was illegal which have been dismissed by both the Master of Mendip Hunt, Rob Williams, and police.
Mr Williams said the riders had been trail hunting in the Hollow Marsh area on the outskirts of Farrington Gurney.
He said: “It was a young hound involved and it just appeared to brush the bus. The hound is fine and I was in contact with the police straight afterwards.”
He said: “We have video footage of the trail being laid at Hollow Marsh and the police were aware we were out hunting that day.”
Police have confirmed that no further action is being taken over the incident.
A spokesman said: “We are satisfied it was a legal trail hunt.”
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