Drunk driver jailed after horror car crash
Robert Smith smashed into a broken down car which had an eight-year-old strapped in the back.
A drunk driver who left a little girl fighting for her life on her eighth birthday has been jailed for one year and 10 months.
Robert Smith was three and a half times over the limit when he smashed into the back of the broken down car the youngster was in on the hard shoulder of the M8 in January this year.
The girl - who cannot be named for legal reasons - had to be cut from the wreckage and rushed to hospital where she had part of her skull removed due to swelling to her brain.
Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that the girl's mum thought it was roadside assistance coming to help her, but as the van drew closer at 52mph she realised at the last minute what was happening. The back of the car, which was where the child was sitting strapped in, was completely destroyed.
Sentencing the 46-year-old on Thursday, Sheriff John McCormick jailed Smith and banned him from driving for 10 years. At an earlier hearing, Smith, of Cowie Place, Wishaw, admitted drink driving and driving dangerously causing serious and life threatening injuries to the girl on January 17.
Prosecutor Iain Bradley told the court that the girl and her mum were driving home from a birthday day out at Braehead at around 5pm when their car got a flat tyre. They pulled into the hard shoulder and parked up with the hazard lights on to wait for assistance.
Mr Bradley said: "They stayed in the car and the next thing the mum saw was a white van coming up behind her.
"Initially she thought that this was someone coming to help her but at the last minute realised that the vehicle was coming far too fast and was able to shout a brief warning to her daughter just before impact.
"The impact was such that the whole rear section of the car concertinaed."
The court heard that emergency services were called and fire fighters had to cut the youngster from the vehicle before she was rushed to hospital. She suffered swelling to her brain and had to have surgery to remove part of her skull to relieve the pressure.
This piece of bone was then attached to her rib for some time to allow it to keep growing before being replanted in the girl's head once the swelling had gone down.
She was expected to stay in hospital for several months but amazingly made a quick recovery and was home in three weeks with no permanent damage other than a small scar on her head. Smith was breathalysed by police at the side of the road and was three and a half times over the drink drive limit.
Other drivers had also seen him driving erratically with no lights on and driving along the hard shoulder for some distance. A satellite tracker in his van showed that he was driving at 52mph, and crash scene investigators reported that he made no attempt to break before hitting the car.