The driver of the school bus did "mistake" this day in December 2017, by entering the Millas level crossing.
Justice sentenced her this Friday to five years in prison, four of which were suspended, after the collision with a TER which claimed the lives of six children.
The defendant, still hospitalized in psychiatry, was absent from the Marseille criminal court, the only city with Paris to host a center specializing in collective accidents.
Thursday September 22, barely four days after the opening of her trial for manslaughter and involuntary injury, Nadine Oliveira, 53, had been " struck down ", in the words of one of her lawyers.
Taken by an irrepressible fit of tears, she had ended up being evacuated by the marine-firefighters.
Hearing the heartbreaking stories of some of the 17 teenagers injured in this tragedy, on December 14, 2017, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, greatly “affected” her.
For the first time, she visualized the injuries of the children, "it was as if the reality was emerging, whereas until now, all of this had remained very theoretical for her", commented her lawyer, Me Jean Codognès.
Five years in prison required
Absent from the last two weeks of her trial, Nadine Oliveira, the only defendant in this case, was first admitted to cardiology, before joining a psychiatric hospital in Marseille.
His lawyer hoped for an acquittal, but the prosecutor Michel Sastre had requested a five-year prison sentence, four of which were suspended on probation, accompanied by obligations of care and compensation for the victims.
He had also requested the cancellation of his tourist and passenger transport driving licenses, as well as a permanent ban on exercising a professional activity in connection with children.
For the representative of the public prosecutor, this "tragedy" is indeed the result of a "fault" of the driver, due to her inattention and her recklessness.
Before the tragedy, Nadine Oliveira had taken this level crossing N.25 almost 400 times, and she had never seen it closed.
During the investigation as at the hearing, she always maintained that the barriers were open on the day of the tragedy, despite the expertise and certain testimonies, in particular that of a young girl seated at the front of the bus.
She also spoke of a "black hole" at the time of the accident.
But “the problem of the file is not to know if the barrier was raised or lowered, it is to have the proof that it was lowered”, insists Me Codognès.
Read alsoTrial of the Millas drama: “Everything confirms that this barrier was lowered”, charge the lawyers for the victims
Many civil parties saw a form of denial in the driver.
“It is not a question of contesting the suffering of Nadine Oliveira, but we would have liked that (this suffering) not be worn as a banner of her innocence but as recognition of her responsibility”, had thus pleaded Me Marie Mescam, representative of the families of a deceased child and seven survivors.
There is "a lack of empathy" in Nadine Oliveira, but "I did not see in (her) attitude an absolute denial of what was committed", had nuanced the prosecutor: she "says what her brain believes to be the reality", so as not to sink completely.
An analysis shared by one of the psychiatric experts who came to testify at the bar.
This denial corresponds to “an unconscious defense mechanism”, explained Françoise Grau-Espel, who had examined Nadine Oliveira only a month after the accident, at the beginning of 2018: “We cannot at all speak of lies or manipulation”.
For one of the young victims, now almost of age and who lost a leg in the accident, anyway, "the driver is already dead": she is "imprisoned in herself", she had launched , by the voice of his lawyer.