A CRASH victim left critically injured when the speeding car she was a passenger in smashed into a tree is pursuing a claim in excess of £100,000 — after the teenage driver of the vehicle was fined just £350 at court.

The woman — who was left clinging to life following the high impact smash on Cloch Road — suffered a broken back in two places and had to have part of her bowel removed as a result of Jason Beaton losing control.

Beaton, 19, jammed his foot on the accelerator of his Ford Fiesta as it careered off the rain-soaked carriageway after midnight and hit the tree — leaving no evidence of any braking, Greenock Sheriff Court was told.

Prosecutor David Glancy said: “A full crash investigation was undertaken, and that only happens when the prognosis is bleak.

“In panic, Mr Beaton put his foot firmly on the accelerator and he was unable to rectify the situation.”

The court heard that Beaton, of Nimmo Street in Greenock, spun out of control as he attempted to negotiate a right-hand bend whilst driving in excess of the 50mph speed limit, causing the car to cross onto the oncoming carriageway before leaving the road.

His silver-coloured Fiesta Titanium struck the tree with such force that it continued in motion and rotated 90° until it faced the River Clyde on an off-road verge — virtually out of sight to passing traffic.

The engine was pushed backwards into the bulkhead and one side of the car was crushed, with Beaton — who had passed his driving test two months previously — and his female passenger trapped inside.

Fiscal depute Mr Glancy said: “The vehicle had travelled along the footpath on rolling wheels for 33 metres — there is no evidence of braking.”

The court was told that a passing motorist had spotted the mangled car around five minutes after the 12.40am crash, and ‘particularly fortuitously’ the driver was an off-duty paramedic.

Mr Glancy said: “He carried out an observation of both occupants and requested urgent medical attention, particularly for the front seat passenger.”

Beaton — who sustained three fractures to his lower back and a broken ankle — had originally been charged with dangerous driving, however, following talks between Mr Glancy and defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher, his guilty plea to the lesser offence of careless driving was accepted by the Crown.

His passenger required surgery involving the insertion of plates and screws in her back and a broken left wrist as well as having part of her bowel cut away.

Mr Glancy said: “She required in-patient treatment for a number of weeks.

“It is unknown how long her recovery will take, or when she can return to work.

“There is currently a high value insurance claim in relation to her injuries which runs well into six figures.”

The crash occurred on November 14 last year.

Solicitor Mr Gallagher urged Sheriff Daniel Kelly to ‘consider the level of carelessness rather than the consequences’.

Mr Gallagher said: “There is nothing to suggest that he had not driven other than responsibly earlier that evening.

“It would appear that at the point where the car has left the roadway he has lost, somehow, control of the vehicle and perhaps a more experienced driver might have avoided the collision.

“He is a first offender, a young man, an inexperienced driver who has made a mistake.

“The level of carelessness has to be the consideration here.”

Sheriff Kelly told Beaton: “I echo the sentiments of the Crown regarding the paramedic because, but for his actions, who knows what the outcome may have been.

“I don’t have to impress upon you how fortunate it is that you both survived.

“This has had a huge impact on the life of your passenger.

“It is clear to me in my view that an experienced driver could have regained control and that you appear to have panicked.”

The sheriff fined Beaton, who works in event management for Inverclyde Council, £350 and imposed six penalty points on his driving licence.

He said: “I consider this to be an appropriate number of points as you will now revert to being a learner driver and must re-sit the test.”