Trial of the drama of Millas

After four and a half of tears and pain, Alain Atgé, president of the Millas 14-12-17 association and father of Gauthier, a teenager miraculously affected by the tragic collision of Millas, is preparing to relive the drama of their lives. The appalling collision in which her son was seriously injured, like 16 other of his comrades, and in which six children were killed. This trial is “one step too many” for this bruised father. He will nevertheless find the courage to attend, hoping that this hearing will lead to “an awareness” of the bus driver.

Alain Atgé what do you expect from this trial?

At first, I didn’t want to go there, because it’s a bit too much. But, ultimately I think it’s a necessary evil to close this drama, even if it will never be extinguished.

Today Gauthier is 18 years old, are you taking him with you?

Yes, he wishes to attend. We want to see the driver in the box. I want to hear the charges against her. Until now, the investigation, the expertise, the procedure, it is only paper. However, when all this information will be verbalized in court, the sincere truth will finally be truly recorded. And then the responsible (presumed, editor’s note) will be there in front of all of us and I hope that she will have an awareness or that she will be better in her head to express regrets. Apparently it’s not won but maybe it will come over the debates. Above all, I hope so for the parents who have lost a child. We are all marked for life and I am realizing that we will never be cured.

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Four years and nine months after the horrific collision, has time eased your suffering a little?

For me, it’s four years of thinking about putting myself in this driver’s shoes to try to understand. Four years to redo the film of the accident to be consistent with myself and not in the silly and malicious accusation.

The barrier opposite was closed in front of a line of stationary cars, the driver saw it but continued to drive

And what are the results of your reflections?

I often placed myself in front of the barrier to put myself in the place of the bus and it seemed obvious to me, a certainty. At the wheel of the bus, she must have seen that the barrier opposite was closed that there was a line of cars stationary waiting for the train to pass. So even if we imagine that the barrier on her side was up, she should have stopped. Why enter the level crossing when it is closed in one direction? It speaks louder than anything else. Me, it jumped to my mind, I only have this image in my head and I therefore find even fewer excuses for him.

In this hypothesis, how would you explain that the driver did not see anything?

its pathology. When you do not recover from the death of your father after seven years I consider that you are not in good mental health. Which is his case. At the time of death, she took a treatment which is planned to last fifteen days and which she will continue for seven years. In addition, December 14 is the anniversary of the death of her father, so I will not be taken out of my head that on the day of the disaster she self-medicated to endure this day.

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However, experts have concluded that there are no medicinal substances…

They didn’t find anything in the blood, but because they did a simple, classic analysis. If they had looked further, taking material from his brain tissue, they might have found something. Then, on the medication side, they took a radius of 40 km around her home to inquire at all the pharmacies to find out if she had not bought any anxiolytics or antidepressants and they found nothing. But for me 40 km is not enough.

What feeds your doubts?

By returning to the driver’s seat, in front of the level crossing, it is clear that the train is in the visual field of all users. We can’t miss this big red mass that arrives by emitting vibrations. Unless we haven’t slept all night. Everyone knows that fatigue narrows the field of vision enormously and I doubt that she slept a wink the night of the anniversary of her father’s death.

When you are a road professional, you must always consider everything for yourself and for those you transport

Do you see another explanation for this tragedy?

I believe she was also in the routine. She had never been confronted with the passage of a train, it did not circulate at this time with the exception of this December 14 when she and the TER were each seven minutes late. Throughout her career, she has certainly never realized that there were barriers and yet when you are a road professional, you must always consider everything for yourself and for those you are transporting.

Are you mad at her?

Of course because I wonder why she didn’t press the accelerator pedal or the brake, without knowing if it was too late or not. For me, anyone would have done it in an innate survival reflex. But no, she is said to have remained inert. And here I expect a real answer, because this failure could be crucial in this disaster.

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Does the fact that the trial is being held in Marseille pose a problem for you?

Since the drama, you know everything disturbs me, I even cry in front of Super Nanny. So for Marseille, imagine how disturbing it is. Already I feel on edge, going there, it adds stress. We are still victims.

Responsible, she is, but she is not the only one

Does Gauthier wish to testify at trial?

Not at the moment. Right now his life is shutting himself up in the dark without seeing anyone. After the miracle of his recovery, he had his baccalaureate in computer science and this year he asked me for a little respite. He does nothing, you have to ask him for everything. But what worries me the most today is that at the last medical examination, the doctor found him to have smirks, small signs that I hadn’t noticed but which can say a lot about his condition. I have to go up to Paris to have him consulted by a specialized practitioner. Gauthier keeps this look of horror constantly turned towards the ground. Otherwise, like me, the doctors say it’s hard to know who he would have been without the accident.

What judgment do you expect?

For her to remain in denial and for her to be given a simple reprieve would be unfortunate. She must be held responsible. The prison closes, in my opinion, it is not suitable because her sentence, she already has it. But the verdict that will be rendered must find her one hundred percent guilty with a sentence adjustment and appropriate community service. I hope for a strong sanction. She is guilty of not being aware of her condition and of not having taken the necessary steps herself to change jobs… I believe that occupational medicine should also be called into question, like her general practitioner, her employer and all those who knew her ill-being, to whom she confided in one day or another and who should have alerted. Responsible, she is, but she is not the only one.

What is your life today?

The most terrible image that haunts me is discovering Gauthier on his sheave bed, the night of the tragedy. My son was unrecognizable, plugged in everywhere, his body was not alive. Eight days later he was still sedated, a week later he woke up from a coma and again I didn’t know if he was going to survive. And in what state? Gauthier is a miracle. The doctors and all the staff of the intensive care unit at the Perpignan hospital were wonderful, they saved his life. Not to mention the hundred donors of blood, plasma and platelets who were transfused to him.

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You believe in miracles…

I am an atheist but I intend to take Gauthier to Notre-Dame de la Garde. I went there about twenty years ago and I was overwhelmed with spirituality. I had brought back a large statue gilded with fine gold and when I got home I built a niche for it. The night of the accident when I came home, it was as if she had lit up. Since then, it has become the altar of Calvary that we suffer. Besides, I put a little Virgin of Lourdes next to her, given to me by the father of Amans, his friend who was seriously injured on that dreadful December afternoon.

Trial of the drama of Millas – “Gauthier is a miracle but he keeps this look of terror constantly fixed on the ground”, testifies the father of a child