A NURSE has been spared an immediate jail sentence after she left a father of three paralysed by crushing him between her car and a parked vehicle.

Shirley Smith today pleaded guilty to causing serious injury to Steven Ellison by driving dangerously on Bolton Road, Silsden, on March 27, 2018.

Mr Ellison suffered a severe spinal fracture that left him paralysed from the waist down when Smith’s Vauxhall Corsa hit a parked Ford Focus at around 7pm.

Mr Ellison’s son was also struck and the collision was witnessed by his wife, prosecutor Andrew Stranex said.

Smith, who had been on duty at Airedale Hospital, was a diabetic who said she checked her blood sugar levels before she set off and they were “totally fine.”

But she began to feel unwell with hyperglycaemia and ignored the clear indications that she should not be driving, Mr Stranex told Bradford Crown Court.

Smith, 47, of East Hill Street, Barnoldswick, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 300 hours of unpaid work. She was banned from driving for five years and until she takes an extended retest.

She drove on and off the pavement before the crash and was described as having “a glazed expression.”

She veered in the road and was said to have been going too fast.

Mr Stranex told the court her driving record included “bumps” and she had attended a speed awareness course.

Mr Ellison, who had enjoyed mountain biking and tennis, spent 20 weeks in hospital and said in his victim personal statement that at times, he wanted to die.

He had been a DIY enthusiast but now couldn’t even change a lightbulb.

“The driver has devastated my life and that of my family,” he said.

Mr Ellison, who attended the court hearing with his wife, also sustained a fractured ankle, fractured leg and knee injuries needing skin grafts.

Tom Gent said in mitigation: “This was a tragic and awful incident.”

Smith had been a nurse for 23 years and driving since 1989.

She was racked with guilt and utterly devastated by the dreadful injuries she had caused.

But Mr Gent conceded she had not been attending for specialist diabetic reviews and should have known she was unfit to drive that evening.

Testimonials spoke of her as compassionate and caring and “an extremely kind woman.”

The effect on her was “exceptionally acute” and her mental health problems had been exacerbated.

Last November she attempted to take her own life after experiencing nightmares and high levels of anxiety, and being overwhelmed by guilt.

Smith, of previous good character, had not driven since, Mr Gent said.

Judge Jonathan Rose said she had been diabetic for 16 years and knew she must keep regular checks on her blood sugar.

She had never explained why she didn’t wait before going to see a friend that evening.

“You should have stopped and not driven because what was coming was a woman potentially unable to control that vehicle,” the judge said.

She felt tingling on her lips and that should have been “as loud as any alarm bell.”

Smith drove along the pavement before striking Mr Ellison and his son. It was a mercy that the boy was not more seriously injured.

Judge Rose accepted that she was remorseful and racked by guilt.

Mr Ellison’s whole life had been devastated but nothing that could happen to Smith would make his life any better.

“You could go to prison for a million years and it wouldn’t change anything,” Judge Rose said.

Smith had made a “deliberate and determined” attempt on own life and he feared for her health if she was sent immediately to prison.