A newly-appointed teacher was left with life-changing injuries when an elderly motorist ploughed into her pedal cycle on a main road.
Charity fund-raiser and retired businesswoman Christine Pern, 83, was blinded by low sun on the afternoon of January 20 as she drove along the A939 near the Dalcross Airport roundabout.
She told police she didn’t see Michelle Woods, 25, and only realised she had hit something when she heard a “thud”, Inverness Sheriff Court was told yesterday.
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Pern, of Ardersier, was originally charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving but when she appeared before Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood, she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of careless driving.
Pern admitted continuing to drive while her view of the road ahead was significantly obstructed by the low level sun and failing to see Miss Woods, who was seriously injured, permanently disfigured and permanently disabled.
Fiscal depute Laura Ryan said that the victim was rushed to Raigmore Hospital where she underwent immediate surgery. She sustained a fractured spine, a broken hip, leg and foot fractures.
Ms Ryan said that at the time, Miss Woods had recently moved to the area to take up a new teaching job.
Defending, Duncan Henderson said his client was “devastated” by the incident.
He added: “She told police at the time: ‘I am absolutely devastated by what has happened to the poor girl.’
“I understand that Miss Woods has made far more progress than what the doctor expected but it is difficult to say what the long term forecast is.”
Mr Henderson said that his client had been a nurse, and was then involved in tourism and latterly was a businesswoman.
He went on to tell Sheriff Fleetwood that Pern, who had no driving convictions in 65 years, had taken part in several charity fund-raisers, including cycling in China and trekking in Cambodia.
Fining her £600 and endorsing her licence with eight penalty points, Sheriff Fleetwood told her: “The consequences of this were horrendous but I have to look at the degree of carelessness.”