A crash casualty yesterday told how all he could do was “tense and prepare for impact” as he realised another car was going to hit his.
Callum Stewart described the seconds leading up to the collision – which eyewitnesses said was “like an explosion” – at the trial of Paul McLaughlin.
The 25-year-old’s Nissan Qashqai collided with Mr Stewart’s Astra in Inverness-shire, injuring them both.
Yesterday at Inverness Sheriff Court, care worker McLaughlin of 2 Balachlan Drive, Westercraigs, Inverness, fought back tears and looked directly at his victim sitting in the public benches and said: “I am genuinely sorry. I feel terrible about what happened. I had no intention of hurting anyone.”
McLaughlin denies causing himself and Mr Stewart serious injury on the A862 near Conon Bank Farm at its junction with an unclassified road to Kirkhill on February 4, 2014, by driving dangerously at excessive speed, failing to give way at a junction, drive in front of oncoming traffic and causing his car to collide with Mr Stewart’s vehicle.
He told the court: “I am not suicidal. I was not in a rush. I was two minutes from my house.
“My son was three weeks old at the time and I would never have risked my life to get home five seconds earlier. A big animal – perhaps a deer – came from my left as I approached the Give Way sign and I jolted to the left to avoid it.
“I don’t remember anything after that apart from getting help from people. It all happened so fast.”
Both men suffered serious abdominal injuries and Mr Stewart also sustained a smashed knee cap. They each required surgery and spent several days in hospital.
Witness Audrey Smith told the jury: “I never saw a swerve. I was concerned and then there was like an explosion and the cars were in front of me. I got such a fright.”
Mr Stewart, who lives near Muir of Ord, also gave evidence. He said: “I was heading for the athletics clubs in Inverness. I was not in a hurry. I saw the vehicle coming down the road. I never thought anything of it but it was still coming at speed towards the junction and I thought there was going to be a collision and nothing could be done about it.
“I never saw it swerve. It just came out of the junction, I instinctively hit the brakes, tensed up and prepared for the impact.”
The trial continues.