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At the trial of the Millas bus accident, the driver braces herself on her version

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Nadine Oliveira cracked. During an interrogation which was to close the first week of her trial in Marseille, the driver of the school bus tried for having forced the barrier of the level crossing of Millas (Pyrénées-Orientales), involuntarily causing the death of six children and injuries to 17 other college students, collapsed in tears, Thursday, September 22, when she mentioned the seats torn off by the TER which crossed her bus. The hearing is then suspended and the marine-firefighters are called to take charge of it. From the courtroom, we hear inextinguishable tears. The scene is new. A young girl injured in the collision wants to go talk to him. The president of the court leads her to the room where the defendant withdraws during the suspensions of the hearing.

Nadine Oliveira cracked under the questions of the lawyers for the civil parties. They don’t understand how she can reconcile the ” black hole “ in which she claims to have been immersed just before the accident and her memory “categorical” to have seen the level crossing barrier lifted. Denying any error, she braces herself on this certainty that four days of hearing have shaken. “If I say the barriers were open, they were open”she says without giving way to the doubts that she had nevertheless expressed a few days after the tragedy, in police custody.

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Nadine Olivieria pushes back all the poles. That stretched by the prosecutor Michel Sastre who underlines the fact that she crossed this level crossing eight times a week for three months without having ever seen a train. “There is no routine, the barrier was open, I am categorical”. That of President Céline Ballérini who evokes the hypothesis of a “micro-sleep”. “No, I was in good shape, not tired”. Despite her little girl’s voice, Nadine Oliveira appears unwavering.

“I have my memories, they have theirs”

To the witnesses yet opposing their memories of a closed barrier, she decides: “I have my memories, they have theirs”. Like the train driver and her instructor. “At the exit of a curveexplains the young woman who was in charge of the TER, I see the barriers closed, the bus arrives a fraction of a second later, I see it bend the barrier, it passes very slowly”. The driver presses the emergency brake button and crushes the whistle of the train which she will not let go until it stops, two hundred meters after the impact. The shock was inevitable, deplores his instructor who admits to the court his difficulty in resuming driving trains.

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