A COACH passenger grabbed the steering wheel and told the driver to “wake up” as it careered on to a main A66 roundabout island, a jury has heard.

Darryle Gordon Warren, 52, has gone on trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

He denies one charge alleging dangerous driving late on October 7 in 2017.

About 40 passengers - including a pregnant woman - were being transported on a Reays coach back to west Cumbria from Manchester, having earlier watched a rugby league Grand Final at the Old Trafford stadium, home to Manchester United.

Trip organiser Scott Graham told jurors he approached Warren as the vehicle travelled north on the M6, after it was seen “veering” between lanes, and “swerving”.

A number of passengers on the bus told the court they saw this happen.

Amid concern, Mr Graham said: “I went down and asked him if he was too tired and didn’t feel like he could drive the bus.

“He said to me ‘I wish I could go to sleep. Tell them all to calm down’.”

Warren continued, joining the A66 westbound from the motorway.

One passenger said she shouted as the vehicle encroached into a layby.

It approached the Crosthwaite roundabout, near Keswick, at about 11.20pm, several people noting that it failed to slow on the downhill approach.

“A lot of people on the bus were screaming, and shouting ‘slow down’,” recalled Mr Graham.

Tracey Eve, sat next to her husband, Derek, told jurors: “It just picked up speed and didn’t brake.”

She continued: “At that point my husband got up. He went to him [Warren] and he just told him to wake up.

“My husband grabbed the wheel and told him to brake.”

She told how the coach “bounced” on to the central island of the roundabout.

Prosecutor Charles Brown, opening the case, said it came to a halt “bogged down in grass and mud” at about 11.20pm.

Nobody was seriously hurt, but there were minor injuries.

“The prosecution say that Mr Warren was displaying, not

just in the few moments at or before the entry of the vehicle on to the Keswick roundabout but for some time before that,” alleged Mr Brown, “the signs of a man struggling to stay awake at the wheel.”

He added: “The prosecution can’t say anybody actually saw him asleep.”

Jurors have been told Warren, whose address was listed as Scotland Road, Carnforth, admits a careless driving charge.

But he denies a separate charge alleging “dangerous” driving which fell “far below” the standard expected of a careful and competent driver.

The trial continues.