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Millas collision: 5 years in prison including 4 suspended sentences required against the driver

Invoking a "simple fault" arising from the inattention and recklessness of Nadine Oliveira, 53, the prosecutor Michel Sastre dismissed the "fatality" in this accident, while emphasizing the "exceptional dimension of this tragedy" judged since on September 19 before the Marseilles court, which has a unit specializing in collective accidents covering the whole of the south of France.

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Millas collision: 5 years in prison including 4 suspended sentences required against the driver

Invoking a "simple fault" arising from the inattention and recklessness of Nadine Oliveira, 53, the prosecutor Michel Sastre dismissed the "fatality" in this accident, while emphasizing the "exceptional dimension of this tragedy" judged since on September 19 before the Marseilles court, which has a unit specializing in collective accidents covering the whole of the south of France.

"Children's lives have been taken away, the physical and psychological health of children has been badly shaken, families destroyed", insisted the representative of the public prosecutor's office in a measured indictment, specifying that "perpetuity" had already been inflicted. to the victims.

This collision, on December 14, 2017, at the Millas level crossing, caused the death of six children and injured 17 others, eight of them seriously.

For three weeks, the testimonies of the adolescent survivors and their families have constantly evoked "broken lives", which tipped over in an instant in horror.

"I was 13 at the time and I became an adult in two minutes. In two minutes, I lost my childhood, my adolescence, my friends," a 17-year-old girl testified at the start of the trial. had his leg amputated as a result of the accident.

Many, like 18-year-old Elona, ​​also shared their "huge sense of helplessness and guilt" for still being alive.

A guilt whose expression "did not necessarily come from where it was expected", regretted the prosecutor: Mrs. Oliveira "did not express (this feeling) in an explicit, visible way", "nor even from doubts".

- Trial "difficult on all sides" -

Tried for homicide and involuntary injuries, the bus driver, currently hospitalized in psychiatry, collapsed at the bar on September 22 and has not reappeared at her trial since.

The Public Prosecutor's Office, which attached Nadine Oliveira's reprieve to obligations of care and compensation for the victims, also requested the cancellation of her driving licenses (for tourism and passenger transport) as well as her ban on returning these for five years.

After the accident, she was hospitalized several times in psychiatry, before being placed under judicial control, without going to detention.

Granting that this trial was "difficult on all sides", including for Ms. Oliveira, Michel Sastre conceded that the driver's "lack of empathy" could have been hard for the victims to live with.

Nevertheless, "I did not see in Mrs. Oliveira's attitude an absolute denial of what was committed, she opened avenues, at the start of the investigation, then closed them, locked them", but "not completely “, estimated the prosecutor.

Nadine Oliveira, who had never known this level crossing closed, after having used it almost 400 times with her bus since September 2017, has always maintained that the barriers were open on the day of the tragedy.

But "we are not in a strategy, a posture", as the psychiatric experts have shown, accepted the magistrate: Nadine Oliveira does not lie deliberately, "she says what her brain considers to be the reality", for not to sink completely, "this crossing of the closed level crossing is the result of routine".

"She never questioned herself," lamented Fabien Bourgeonnier, the father of Loïc, one of the deceased children, to AFP, after the indictment on Wednesday morning: "On the other hand, what we have well done, it's her smile when she arrives the first day (...) She doesn't feel responsible, it's her right, it's her line of defence, but when she hears the children talking, he isn't there a little something going on in the brain?"

In Perpignan, at the Palais des sports, where the trial has been broadcast from the start for the families and relatives of victims, the required sentence appeared to be quite insufficient: "She killed six children. One year per child is not enough. ...", regretted Michaël, a 42-year-old from Perpignan.

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