Driver who ran over girl vows never to drive again

The zebra crossing where the girl was knocked down. Picture: Greg Macvean

The zebra crossing where the girl was knocked down. Picture: Greg Macvean

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A MOTORIST who ran over a five-year-old girl on a zebra crossing two days after passing her driving test has vowed she’ll never get behind the wheel again.

Cara Harrison said she knocked down the youngster after being “blinded” by bright sunshine on Groathill Road North in Drylaw on September 28 last year.

The girl was struck on the crossing and left fighting for her life, although is now said to be making a “good” recovery from her injuries.

The collision sparked a council investigation into why the lollipop man for Groathill Road North was not on duty at the time as scheduled.

Mother of two Harrison, 30, avoided jail at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of dangerous driving. The court heard that the newly-qualified motorist had been unable to see clearly while driving because of bright sunlight flashing through her vehicle’s 
windscreen.

But rather than stop the car, the inexperienced motorist continued to drive on and struck the schoolgirl at a zebra crossing near Ferryhill Primary School at around 12.30pm.

Sheriff Isabella McColl decided not to send Harrison to prison after hearing that the first offender was full of “contrition”, and had been left badly shaken by the accident.

But Sheriff McColl added: “This is an extremely serious offence.”

Harrison, of Ferry Road, was sentenced to 200 hours’ community service and ordered to be supervised for 18 months.

She was also ordered to pay £750 compensation to the child, and was banned from driving for three years.

At an earlier hearing, depute procurator fiscal Alison Innes told the court that the child’s father had collected his daughter from school on the day of the accident.

The pair were making their way across the road when Harrison’s car collided with the child, who was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment.

Defence solicitor Jackie McColl said that her client was sorry for the offence, and had no intention of ever driving a car again.

Ms McColl added: “The one thing that shines through all of this is Mrs Harrison’s complete and utter contrition for the charge. She understands how serious this offence is and it has always been her intention to plead guilty.”

Eyewitnesses described the accident to the Evening News at the time of the collision. Speaking at the scene, one man who asked not to be named said the girl lay “motionless” after being hit.

He said: “When the driver got out of the car, she claimed that she never saw the child due to the sun.”

Local residents had campaigned for 18 months to reduce the speed limit on the road to 20mph.

The crossing on the road was only installed in May 2008 after a resident-led campaign.