A Fife restaurant boss found guilty of causing a horrific road crash has been spared a prison sentence.
Debbie Douglas previously broke down in tears in the witness box as she described the aftermath of the three-car collision.
She drove into the path of Lucy McMaster on the A91, two miles west of Cupar, in January 2019.
The 32-year-old said she “deserved” the serious injuries she sustained during her trial at Dundee Sheriff Court.
She was found guilty by a jury of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Her plea of careless driving was not accepted by the crown, which chose to pursue the more serious dangerous driving charge.
Close to custody
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.
On Thursday, Sheriff Alastair Carmichael ordered Douglas to perform unpaid work as well as placing her on an electronic tag.
He said: “The jury convicted you of a serious offence.
“They rejected the explanations you put forward as to why this collision took place.
“It involved injury to yourself and Ms McMaster.
“It’s fortunate she is making a good recovery and because of the severity of this offence, I need to think about a custodial sentence.
“I have decided that I can follow a non-custodial route.”
Denied deliberately moving to wrong side
Douglas, who runs the Greenhouse Bar and Grill at Cupar Golf Club with her partner, wept as she described removing two young children, one of whom was unconscious, from the wreckage.
She previously told jurors how she veered into the opposite lane while turning round and telling them to behave.
Witnesses claimed Douglas, of Pitscottie Road, Cupar, was trying to overtake other vehicles while driving “erratically”.
“It was something I deserve and I’ll never forget.”
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 saw headlights right in front of me.
“I knew instantly, I knew what I had done.
“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 and bruises to her face, while the younger was treated for a cut to her head.
Douglas herself suffered a broken left foot, pelvis, ribs and spine, a cracked sternum, a lacerated liver and a deflated lung.
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 on to the opposing carriageway.
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.
‘Constant reminder of accident’
Solicitor David Duncan said: “To put it bluntly, I can’t see any scenario whereby she would not see and understand the gravity on a daily basis.
“She has a constant reminder of being involved in that incident.
“I would respectfully submit that neither Ms McMaster or the wider public would have the appetite for Ms Douglas to experience a custodial disposal.”
As an alternative to custody, Douglas was ordered to perform 250 hours of unpaid work and placed on a restriction of liberty order designed to keep her indoors between 9pm and 7am for the next four months.
She was also disqualified from driving for 24 months.