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Nurse who seriously injured teenager in crash 'fell asleep at wheel after night shift'

A nurse who fell asleep at the wheel after a 12-hour night shift, causing life changing injuries to a teenage pedestrian, has been jailed for eight months.

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Thaddeus Katumara

Tragedy struck because Thaddeus Katumara wanted a cup of tea before going to bed but discovered there was no milk when he returned home from work, a judge heard.

The 46-year-old father of two decided to drive the short distance to a nearby supermarket to buy milk but lost control when he dozed off for a moment during the journey on Walker Road, Walsall, at 9.45am on January 11, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

The Honda Civic mounted the pavement and hit Rebecca Newton, 18, who was standing near a bus stop with her mother and four-year-old cousin, said Mr Ravi Sidhu, prosecuting.

The vehicle also hit a tree and came to a standstill 90 metres away. Katumara went back to where the victim was lying. The student was so badly hurt her left leg had to be amputated.

Ms Newton said in a statement: “I am in constant pain, get annoyed very easily and have lost all my confidence.”

The court heard she has a prosthetic leg but is having difficulty getting used to it.

Mr Christopher O’Gorman, defending, said Katumara, who was of previous good character, had been dealing with end-of-life dementia patients and their families since 2005.

The lawyer added: “He is distraught at what happened next, not for himself but for Ms Newton.”

Katumara from Harden Road, Walsall pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed and banned from driving for two years on release by Judge James Burbidge QC who told him: “This is a tragic case for a decent man but it is a greater tragedy for her.

“The injury you caused was of the gravest kind, short of death.”

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