A Fife couple have told of their anger after a Perthshire motorist who caused them serious injuries after hitting their car head-on escaped jail.
Daniel Carmichael’s Volkswagen van drifted into the southbound carriageway of the A1, smashing into the vehicle driven by John Stark.
Mr Stark, who was travelling to Yorkshire from Glenrothes with his wife, was airlifted more than 50 miles from the scene, near Wooler, to hospital in Newcastle with a broken leg and pelvis.
In the immediate aftermath of the crash his wife Marjorie, who suffered injuries to her leg, feared her husband was dead and their Kia Ceed would catch fire.
Yesterday Newcastle Crown Court heard Carmichael had admitted falling asleep at the wheel but cannabis and amphetamines he had taken in the days leading up to the crash had played no part in the incident.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: “At 2.06pm the accused’s vehicle was involved in a road traffic collision on the southbound carriageway of the A1, just south of Wooler.
“A Kia Ceed driven by John Stark, who was 64 at the time, was travelling south and his wife was a front seat passenger. They were travelling from Scotland to visit their daughter in Thirsk and to attend a wedding.
”The accused was driving a Volkswagen Crafter van. He had been working as a shop fitter in Newcastle, working 12 hour days. The job had finished and he was driving back to Scotland with his boss.”
Mr Pallister said several witnesses had seen Carmichael drift into the path of Mr Stark and had made no attempt to swerve or brake to avoid the collision.
Firefighters had to cut the roof from Mr Stark’s vehicle in order to free him and he was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary where he underwent an eight hour operation to put a pin in his leg He was transferred to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy on September 11 and faces further surgery on his leg to replace the pins.
Carmichael was given a 12-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.
The 36-year-old was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to sit the extended driving test.
Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Stark said it was not harsh enough and did not reflect the impact the crash had on the couple’s lives, including causing him to miss the first birthday of his only grandchild.
“He got off really lightly,” he said.
“He doesn’t know how close he came to killing us.
“His lawyer said he had wanted to meet with us but he had the chance to speak to my wife at the scene but he sat uninjured in his vehicle instead.
“My wife feels it more than I do – I was knocked out but she thought I was dying.”
Christopher Morrison, defence agent, extended an apology from Carmichael to Mr and Mrs Stark.
He said: “Mr Carmichael wishes to say he’s sorry. He bitterly regrets the incident. He wants them to know that if he could turn back time to before that day, he would.
“He got into the van with his boss with the intention of sharing the driving. Just before the agreed swapping point he fell asleep at the wheel.”
Carmichael, of Blairgowrie’s Ashgrove Terrace, had previously admitted to causing serious injury by dangerous driving on the A1, near Wooler, on August 30 last year.