The 58-year-old driver of a coach that crashed in Australia’s Hunter Valley killing 10 of the wedding guests on board, has been charged with dangerous and negligent driving.
Brett Andrew Button could face years in prison after police said he was driving too fast for the road conditions in the Sunday night accident.
The coach, chartered to take wedding guests from a reception at a wine estate in New South Wales’s Hunter Valley to their accommodation, rolled over at a roundabout in the country’s worst road accident in about 30 years.
Those who died were aged between 20 and 60 years old. Some 14 people remain in hospital.
Button, who lives locally, kept his head bowed throughout the court proceedings on Tuesday, prompting magistrate Robyn Richardson to express concern.
“I see here before me a man suffering,” she said, granting bail on the condition that Button does not approach prosecution witnesses or get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
“I do have concerns for Mr Button’s wellbeing,” she said.
Police say they are still piecing together their investigation.
Officers have said that initial alcohol testing came back negative, but they pointed blame at “erratic” speeding that some passengers had reportedly complained about before the crash.
Acting assistant police commissioner David Waddell said Button faced 11 charges.
“He entered that roundabout in a manner that was inconsistent with the conditions,” he said.
“Obviously, the speed was too quick for him to negotiate that roundabout, causing the vehicle to fall on its left side, and causing those injuries.”
The crash near the town of Greta, about 180km (112 miles) north of Sydney, caused widespread shock, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese leading condolences to the victims.
Residents placed flowers near the crash site and gathered for a candlelight vigil at a church near where the accident happened, while a light show illuminating Sydney’s harbour bridge and opera house was switched off for a minute on Monday night in honour of those who died.
Police will interview some of the passengers who have been discharged from hospital and undertake an examination of the bus.