A teenage tractor driver who caused the death of a pensioner on a Fife road has nightmares and flashbacks of the crash, a court heard.
Catherine Armitt, 73, died after farmer Russell Graham drove straight into the path of a car being driven by her daughter Angela Packer on the A92 near Freuchie in February.
Dundee Sheriff Court was told that Mrs Armitt’s death had “almost overwhelmed” the 19-year-old, who “fully accepted” the blame for the tragedy.
The court heard that Graham was towing an unloaded trailer when he came out of the C20 Kettlebridge junction without stopping or keeping a proper lookout for other vehicles.
Mrs Armitt was fatally injured in the crash and died in hospital the next day after suffering fractured ribs, spine, sternum and hand as well as bruising to her heart and lungs.
The cause of her death was given as chest and neck injuries sustained in the crash.
Graham, of Raecruik Farm, Auchtermuchty, admitted causing Mrs Armitt’s death by careless driving on February 18.
Defence advocate Susan Duff said: “He and his family have asked me to express their deepest condolences to Mrs Armitt’s family. He fully accepts responsibility for causing Mrs Armitt’s death.
“The circumstances of her death have almost overwhelmed him. He has had flashbacks and nightmares and is extremely fragile emotionally.
“He was 18 at the time of the accident and has no previous convictions. He had been driving tractors since he was 16 and lives with his family on the farm.
“The accident affected him so badly he has not been able to work.”
A witness driving in the other direction saw the crash and described Graham driving “straight across the junction” without stopping.
After the crash another driver described Graham as “shaking uncontrollably and crying”.
Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson previously told the court that Mrs Packer was approaching the junction on the southbound carriageway at about 40mph.
She said: “Mrs Packer had seen the tractor drive into her path and tried to drive out of the way but was unable to avoid colliding with the tractor.”
Her Fiesta collided with the front offside wheel of the tractor and both vehicles slid across the road where the tractor also hit a lamp-post.
On arrival at hospital Mrs Armitt was sent for an X-ray. She was then sent to the surgical high-dependency unit and died at 6.52pm the following day.
Sheriff Elizabeth Munro continued the case until January 6 to determine Graham’s level of culpability, adding: “I have no doubt whatsoever that his remorse is genuine.”