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Fife restaurant boss guilty of causing horrific smash says she “deserved” serious injuries

Debbie Douglas
Debbie Douglas

A Fife restaurant boss said she “deserved” the serious injuries she sustained in the horrific road smash she was found guilty of causing.

Debbie Douglas, 31, broke down in tears in court as she described the aftermath of the three-car collision which saw her drive into the path of Lucy McMaster on the A91, two miles west of Cupar, in January 2019.

She is now at risk of being jailed after being convicted at Dundee Sheriff Court of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Ms McMaster suffered a perforated bowel and had to wear a back brace for several months after Douglas’ Nissan Juke crashed into her Kia Sportage.

A Volkswagen Golf driven by Liam Grieve was also written off after being forced onto a grass verge by the collision.

Debbie Douglas

Douglas, who runs the Greenhouse Bar & Grill at Cupar Golf Club with her husband, wept as she described removing two young children, one of whom was unconscious, from her car.

She told jurors how she veered into the opposite lane while turning around and telling them to behave.

Witnesses claimed Douglas, of Pitscottie Road, Cupar, was trying to overtake other vehicles while driving “erratically”.

‘A crash… then a complete silence’

In evidence, Douglas said: “One of the girls leaned forward and pushed my phone forward.

“I turned round, told them to stop, turned back round and just seen headlights right in front of me.

“I knew instantly, I knew what I had done. I felt a crash and then a complete silence.

“I knew I had to get the girls out of the car. I was screaming at the eldest to wake up, which she did.

“I remember going to the side of the road and just lying in pain. It was something I deserve and I’ll never forget.

“I’m just really sorry. I took my eye off the road for a split second.”

The oldest child suffered a back injury as well as suffering bruises to her face while the younger was treated for a cut to her head.

Douglas herself required crutches after suffering from a broken left foot, pelvis, ribs and spine as well as a cracked sternum, a lacerated liver and a deflated lung.

She told the jury how she travelled on the A91 regularly and was always cautious due to it being “notorious” for rogue drivers and collisions.

Overtaking claims

The court heard how Douglas was driving back from Dollar after dropping off chef whites for her husband.

She claimed she was in no rush to return home but Mr Grieve gave evidence claiming Douglas’ driving seemed hurried as she tried to overtake.

Ms McMaster suffered a broken forearm and thumb, a fractured vertebrae and bowel, required two operations on her left arm to insert plates and screws and had to wear a back brace for several months.

She believed Douglas was deliberately moving onto the opposing carriageway.

Fiscal depute Lora Apostolova questioned Douglas on why witnesses gave evidence saying she was trying to overtake other cars.

Ms Apostolova said: “We have three people with different accounts who appear to give an assessment that you were trying to overtake earlier and just before the collision on a road that you said was notorious and you know well but you say that you weren’t overtaking?

“I have to put it to you that it was because of your deliberate actions and your miscalculation which led you to the opposing carriageway and that collision with the Kia.”

Douglas replied: “I disagree because I wasn’t overtaking.”

Guilty by majority

A jury found her guilty by a majority verdict of causing serious injury to Ms McMaster and two children by dangerous driving on the A91 on January 23 2019.

She was convicted of causing her vehicle to travel on the wrong side of the road and into the path of Ms McMaster’s vehicle, which in turn collided with the vehicle driven by Liam Grieve.

Solicitor David Duncan opted to reserve mitigation until Douglas, a first offender, returns to court following the preparation of reports.

Sentence was deferred until May by Sheriff Alastair Carmichael who allowed Douglas’ bail order to continue.

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