A mum-of-two made a tearful apology in court after her 4×4 hit a group of school children and parents.
Pupils and parents were stood outside Beatrix Potter Primary School in Earlsfield, south-west London when Dolly Rincon-Aguilar’s Toyota Rav4 hit them.
The horrifying car smash happened just after 3pm on September 8, 2020 and when giving evidence in court the 39-year-old broke down in tears as she apologised to the young victims and their families.
The incident led to a seven-year-old boy, who had been facing away from the car, being knocked into the air, whilst others as young as six were trapped under the vehicle the court was told.
The mum-of-two from Wandsworth, south London, had been picking up children from the school.
She pleaded not guilty to eight counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
The vehicle mounted the pavement and hit a tree and a wall before it accelerated towards the school entrance, where the children and parents stood, Kingston Crown Court heard.
Jurors were told Rincon-Aguilar might have pressed her 4×4’s accelerator instead of the brake as she ploughed forward.
Paramedics and London’s Air Ambulance were called to the scene just after 3:10pm.
Eleven people, including seven children, were treated at the scene, with four adults and five children rushed to hospital while two children were discharged.
Two victims had fractures to the face and skull, with one needed emergency treatment to remove a blood clot.
Some of the children were left with “serious” fractures to the leg, arm and eye socket.
Asked by defence barrister Ian Henderson QC how the incident had affected her, Rincon-Aguilar said: “I think just my heart is broken in two. I just wish that I could take away all the pain and all the frustration.”
She added: “I want to be able to tell them I’m so sorry because it is the only thing I want to say to them.
“A school should feel safe. It is just so upsetting.”
The jury heard that Rincon-Aguilar, who got her UK driving licence for an automatic vehicle in 2019, had not been drinking or taking drugs and had no health issues or problems at home.
She also confirmed there were no obstructions due to the weather, no distractions like the radio playing and her mobile phone was in her pocket while the vehicle had MOT, tax and insurance.
“When I drive to the school, I always take my time because there are children around and it can be difficult to see them,” she said.
She added: “I took a few minutes to take to the road, making sure to look in the mirrors.
“I just put the car in drive and just indicated, checked mirrors, checked mirrors again and indicated and just tried to take the road.
“I did press the accelerator gently and the next thing the car just went through the road and it was just so fast and just hit the tree.
“It finished so fast. We were heading towards the main gate, and I thought, I don’t know, ‘Just stop’.
“When the car wasn’t stopping I just thought ‘handbrake, handbrake’.”
Rincon-Aguilar told the court she later recognised one of the mothers and said she was “so scared”.
The court heard how she spoke to the police without a solicitor and character witnesses described the defendant as a “cautious” and “conscientious” person.
When asked about the police’s conclusion there had been a “pedal misapplication” where she pressed the accelerator instead of the brake, Rincon-Aguilar said: “I think that is all right.”
The trial continues.