Bus driver killed in Orpington crash spoke to his daughter during his break

Heartbroken daughter chatted to bus driver, 60, about his grandchildren just 20 minutes before he was killed in horror crash that also injured 15 as police arrest 24-year-old ‘minicab driver high on drugs’

  • EXCLUSIVE: Bus driver Kenneth Matcham died and fifteen people were injured in a road crash in Orpington 
  • A car collided with two buses before ‘minicab’ driver was arrested on suspicion of death by dangerous driving
  • Witnesses say the aftermath was like a scene from a disaster movie, with a man trapped under a bus and many injured and trapped inside the vehicle 
  • Photos from the scene this morning show the front of one bus was caved in by the force of the crash

Advertisement
 

Bus driver Kenneth Matcham (pictured with his daughter Shelley) died in a horrific road crash between two buses and a Skoda in Orpington last night

A bus driver who died in a horror crash between two London buses and a minicab was a grandfather-of-seven who spoke to his daughter on the phone just minutes before he was killed.

Kenneth Matcham died and 15 bus passengers were injured when a Skoda pulled out of a side road in Orpington last night and collided with two buses around 10pm.

The car’s 24-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of death by dangerous driving and drug driving as emergency services dealt with a scene of devastation in the south-east London suburb.

Mr Matchem’s grieving daughter Shelley today told how her father had spoken to her on the phone just before he set off on his route. 

Ms Matchem said: ‘He was on his break and called me to ask me if I’d taken the kids out trick or treating.

‘I told him that I had and he said “where’s my pictures then?”

‘I sent them after I’d spoken to him. I made the kids get back in their Halloween outfits to take photos and send to dad and I’m so glad that I did that.

‘He always complained that I never sent him a Christmas card on time so I told him that I’d gone out and bought one on Monday. He laughed and said “It’s only October!”

She said her father ‘didn’t have a bad bone in his body’ and ‘would do anything to help anyone’.

She added: ”He was a lovely man and life won’t be the same without him. We’d gone to Turkey in June to celebrate him turning 60 and had a great time.

‘He absolutely doted on his dog Cookie. Cookie is getting on a bit now so didn’t need a lot of walks but loved sitting on dad’s lap. He still waits by the door and looks out the window waiting for him to come home. ‘  

London bus drivers have started a JustGiving page to raise money for Mr Matchem’s family.

This was the scene of devastation following a crash between two buses and a Skoda car, reportedly a minicab, last night

This was the scene of devastation following a crash between two buses and a Skoda car, reportedly a minicab, last night

Mr Matcham (pictured) died in the crash in south London last night after two buses collided with a Skoda in Orpington

Mr Matcham (pictured) died in the crash in south London last night after two buses collided with a Skoda in Orpington

Mr Latchem, pictured with some of his grandchildren

Mr Latchem went on holiday with his family this summer to celebrate his 60th

Mr Latchem, pictured with some of his grandchildren, went on holiday with his family this summer to celebrate his 60th

Shocking photos from the crash scene this morning show the wreckage of the buses being recovered from the road, which was strewn with shards of metal and glass. 

Witnesses said one passenger was thrown through a bus window while others were trapped injured inside. 

Local resident Ross Philpott, 42 said: ‘There was a big smash and we heard a strange noise at about 10.10pm. It went on for a really long time. We went outside and it was carnage everywhere. It was like something out of a movie scene.

‘The guy who died I think was under the bus. There was nothing we could do. Some ladies came out and brought blankets and water. Most of the people involved were stuck in the bus and it was probably safer for them to be in there.

‘There was one guy talking on the phone who said he was thrown from the bus. He got away with bruised ribs, he was in shock. Another passenger kicked a window out of the bus to get out but most felt safe to stay on there.’

This was the scene in Orpington, south-east London this more after a horrific road crash involving a car and two buses

This was the scene in Orpington, south-east London this more after a horrific road crash involving a car and two buses 

The car is towed from the scene of the crash in Orpington, south London, this morning, following yesterday's collision

The car is towed from the scene of the crash in Orpington, south London, this morning, following yesterday’s collision

Pictures from this morning show the front of the bus completely caved in with smashed windows leaving glass everywhere

Pictures from this morning show the front of the bus completely caved in with smashed windows leaving glass everywhere

Another resident, Judi Johnson, 53, said her husband went to the aid of a young girl with head injuries.

She said: ‘She kept asking him if her head was all right. It was quite bad, it has been split open. Lots of people were helping. It was such a loud noise you couldn’t ignore it. You just knew something bad had happened.

‘On this road people drive so fast. People just don’t stop. There was a lot of people injured on the bus, and there was a lady on the floor.’

John Ellis, 77, who has lived on the Sevenoaks Road for the last 29 years, said: ‘This is a 30mph road but motorists often tear down it at 50-60mph. 

‘The scene last night was horrific. There were people lying on the floor in Park Avenue just off Sevenoaks Road and the area was full of police and paramedics.’ 

Another witness, who asked not to be named, added: ‘The house shook – it was like a bomb had gone off.’  

Witnesses say the two buses were travelling in opposite directions when the car pulled out of a side road

Witnesses say the two buses were travelling in opposite directions when the car pulled out of a side road

Police removed clothes from the scene today, thought to be belongings of the people who were injured on the bus

Police removed clothes from the scene today, thought to be belongings of the people who were injured on the bus

Wreckage at the scene in south London, where one person died following the crash last night 

Police at the scene in Orpington in the early hours of this morning after two buses and a car crashed in south London

Police at the scene in Orpington in the early hours of this morning after two buses and a car crashed in south London 

The crash happened on a residential street in Orpington, in the the very south-east of London, not far from the M25

The crash happened on a residential street in Orpington, in the the very south-east of London, not far from the M25

A spokesman for Go-Ahead said: ‘Our sympathies are with the deceased, a Go-Ahead London bus driver based at Orpington Garage, and their loved ones, also all injured or affected by this accident.

‘The company is in dialogue with the family of the deceased driver and we are working with the police and other relevant parties to establish the facts.

‘As a mark of respect to the next of kin, we will not be releasing any personal details or speculating as to the cause of the collision.’

Orpington MP Jo Johnson said today: ‘I was informed early this morning by the police of the tragic incident that occurred last night on Sevenoaks Road.

‘This is a desperately sad incident and I am deeply sorry to hear that one of the bus drivers has died and that others have suffered life changing injuries.

‘My thoughts are with all those who have been affected, and particularly with the family and friends of the bus driver who lost his life. I will await further information from the emergency services.’

Around 60 firefighters and a team of paramedics attended the scene in Orpington, south-east London. 

London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner Graham Ellis said: ‘Firefighters rescued several casualties from the buses and immediately undertook first aid, being joined by colleagues from London Ambulance Service. Firefighters also made the vehicles and surrounding area safe.’  

The car, said to be Skoda minicab, was taken from the scene earlier this morning

The car, said to be Skoda minicab, was taken from the scene earlier this morning

Firefighters are pictured at the scene last night, where a crash killed one person and injured 15 others in Orpington, south London


Firefighters are pictured at the scene last night, where a crash killed one person and injured 15 others in Orpington, south London 

Police at the scene in Orpington, south London, where two buses and a car crashed last night

Police at the scene in Orpington, south London, where two buses and a car crashed last night

A Met Police spokesman said: ‘Detectives are appealing for witnesses and footage following a fatal road traffic collision in Orpington.

‘Police were called to Sevenoaks Road in Orpington at 22:12hrs on Thursday, 31 October following a report of a multi-vehicle incident.

‘Officers, the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service attended and found two buses and one car in collision.

‘The driver of one of the buses, believed to be a 60-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. His next-of-kin have been informed. Formal identification and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.

‘Paramedics also treated 15 casualties at the scene. Three of the casualties are being treated for serious injuries, and the remaining have minor injuries.

‘The driver of the car, a 24-year-old man, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and drug driving. He was taken to a south London hospital as a precaution before being taken to a south London police station where he remains in custody.’

Police officer are pictured at the scene in Orpington after a collision occurred at around 10pm last night

Police officer are pictured at the scene in Orpington after a collision occurred at around 10pm last night

One of the buses can still be seen with its lights on in the picture above as resident attend the scene

One of the buses can still be seen with its lights on in the picture above as resident attend the scene

Pictures from the scene last night show to empty buses as the streets lay strewn with glass

Pictures from the scene last night show to empty buses as the streets lay strewn with glass 

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said 10 crews were sent to the scene. 

He said: ‘We were called at 10.07pm yesterday (October 31) to reports of a road traffic collision on Sevenoaks Road, Orpington. 

‘We dispatched a number of resources to the scene including ten ambulance crews, two incident response officers and our Hazardous Area Response Team. We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance by car. 

‘We treated 15 patients and took them to hospital. Despite the best efforts of our medics, a person sadly died at the scene.’ 

A Transport for London spokesman said: ‘Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the person who tragically died and the people who were injured after a traffic collision in Orpington.  We are assisting the emergency services and a full investigation into the circumstances will take place.’ 

Distinct Today is a news media company, focused on the intersection between hyper-relevant content and digital innovation. Distinct Today curates editorial news content, experiences, and events across multiple platforms including email, mobile, online and offline. Distinct Today is headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company is privately held. Distinct Today targets an affluent, college-educated audience.