A COACH driver has admitted ignoring the concerns of passengers before his vehicle crashed on to a main A66 roundabout in darkness.

Darryle Warren, 52, is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

He denies a charge alleging the dangerous driving of a Reays bus while returning people to west Cumbria after a rugby league Grand Final game in Manchester.

Passengers reported seeing the coach “drifting” between lanes on the M6 northbound late on October 7, 2017.

Trip organiser Scott Graham asked Warren if he was tired.

He said the driver replied: “I wish I could go to sleep. Tell them all to bloody calm down.”

On the A66 westbound, the coach crashed on to the Crosthwaite roundabout island near Keswick just after 11.20pm.

Samantha Flynn was travelling with her 13-year-old son.

“I was starting to get scared about the manner of the driving,” she stated.

Heading to the roundabout, “the coach just seemed to carry on; it didn’t brake at all”, she said, adding: “I could tell the coach was not going to stop. I was petrified and scared for the safety of myself and my son.”

The coach came to a rest in the mud.

Interviewed after the collision, Warren told police he had misjudged his roundabout approach. “I’m totally at fault for this,” he said. “I’m disgusted with myself. It’s a mistake I will never make again.”

Giving evidence, Warren denied swearing to Mr Graham. He admitted making the “sleep” comment but insisted: “I wasn’t tired.”

On the M6 he admitted his coach drifted, saying: “It was quite windy and wet. Controlling the vehicle was quite difficult.”

Of the A66 incident, Warren, of Scotland Road, Carnforth, told jurors: “When I realised the roundabout was there and I wasn’t going to be able to negotiate safely I quickly assessed the situation, and thought I need to put this coach somewhere safe.

“The safest option being where I ended up on the roundabout.

“It was the safest option - the only place I can put that vehicle safely and not have a lot of casualties.”

Warren - who admits careless driving - had woken at 6am and driven 130 miles from Wakefield before starting his Reays shift. When prosecutor Charles Brown suggested he had ignored passenger concerns, he conceded: “Yes, sir.”

Earlier in the trial, Mr Brown had told the jury that for some time before coach came to halt in grass and mud, the defendant had been displaying the signs of a man who was struggling to stay awake at the wheel.

“The prosecution can’t say anybody actually saw him asleep,” said the prosecutor.

Warren denies his driving fell “far below” the standard of a careful and competent driver. The trial continues.