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Injured minister suing crash driver who nearly killed him on A92 for £100k

Rev Colin Dempster.
Rev Colin Dempster.

A minister who sustained life-changing injuries in a car crash is suing the speeding driver who nearly killed him for £100,000 in compensation.

The Rev Colin Dempster, 66, was left with career-ending injuries when he was struck head-on by a speeding motorist as he made his way home from church.

Mr Dempster, formerly a Church of Scotland minister at Tayport Parish and more recently at Mearns Coastal Parish, has launched a claim for damages in an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh against self-employed builder William McEwan, 36.

McEwan was banned from driving for 30 months and fined £2,500 after he admitted causing the horrific collision by speeding on the wrong side of the road.

Mr Dempster subsequently said he had forgiven McEwan for the incident but his solicitor confirmed he was pursuing the compensation claim.

Solicitor David McKinney said: “He is pursuing compensation to let him cope with the life-changing injuries he suffered.”

Perth Sheriff Court heard how the minister was put on life support after the crash and his family were warned that he might not survive.

“My family were called as I wasn’t expected to survive the brain injuries, and they stayed night and day for almost two weeks,” he said.

“Thankfully, in answer to prayer, I survived and spent a further six weeks in hospital having intensive rehabilitation.

“My life will never be the same again as a result of the accident and I live with the consequences every day. I am now unable to do many of the simplest tasks I could do before.

“I have been unable to return to work and do a job I loved. I had planned on working until at least the age of 70 but that choice has been taken from me.

“Although disappointed that Mr McEwan has never actually said sorry to me, I have forgiven him and bear him no ill will. I forgive him because I am a Christian.”

The court was told McEwan was driving too fast on the A92 and trying to overtake on a blind bend.

He was driving in the oncoming direction when he approached the corner and Mr Dempster had nowhere to go as McEwan’s vehicle hurtled towards his at high speed.

The court was told that the Church of Scotland minister sustained multiple serious injuries when his car was struck by the Land Rover Discovery.

McEwan, Coylton, South Ayrshire, was initially charged with dangerous driving on March 13 2016, but the Crown accepted his guilty plea to a reduced charge of causing serious injury by careless driving.

He admitted driving at excessive speed on the Montrose to Aberdeen road and crossing into the opposing carriageway in the face of oncoming traffic.

McEwan admitted trying to overtake another vehicle on a blind bend and crashing on the wrong side of the road, leaving Mr Dempster seriously injured.

Mr Dempster said he hoped his story “would show those tempted to speed how they can ruin someone’s life.”

McEwan was unavailable for comment yesterday.

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