A Turkish court has ordered the arrest of public bus driver Erol Ayaz on charges of negligence for killing 12 people and injuring 12 others in a recent road accident.
The incident took place on Thursday afternoon when the vehicle ran over people near a bus stop in Dikimevi neighborhood in Ankara’s Cankaya District.
In his defence the driver told the court in Ankara on Friday that he did not kill the people deliberately and the accident was a result of the bus' brakes failing.
According to Ayaz’s version of events, he was pressured to move the bus forward that day near the bus stop when other drivers behind him continuously honked their horns.
“I lowered the handbrake and stepped on the gas pedal a little to move the bus ahead. However, the bus moved more quickly than anticipated. I immediately stepped on the brakes, but the brakes failed and the bus continued to move fast ahead.
“There was another bus in front of me and I steered the wheel to the right to avoid hitting it and then I lost control. The bus continued to drift on pavement, even though I had stepped on the braking pedal all along. The bus did not stop…In this state of panic, I forgot to use the handbrake," he said.
The bus went on to hit several people waiting on the pavement, even as several of them tried desperately to flee. Two other vehicles by the sidewalk were also hit in the incident.
Ayaz insisted that the crash happened due to a technical glitch in the vehicle. "I am sorry. I did not want anyone to get hurt," he said.