First picture of late NHS nurse who ‘nearly killed’ pedestrian on the way to Good Hope Hospital
This is the first picture of a speeding nurse who was behind the wheel of a Mercedes when she hurtled into an Aldi shopper as she ‘rushed to work’. NHS medic Roopa Kumar left her victim with ‘life-threatening’ injuries after she tried to jump a traffic light, zooming at 64mph in a 30mph zone.
The mum-of-two was due to start a nightshift at a Birmingham hospital but a court heard how there was ‘no chance’ she would make it there in time. Kumar, 42, has now been locked up for 18 months for the ‘dreadful’ crash which left pedestrian Jiri Dort in a coma for three weeks.
The ‘hardworking’ man, whose family live in the Czech Republic, has been unable to go back to his job as a forklift driver since the collision with Kumar’s Mercedes-Benz GLA. He was thrown into the air when the vehicle careered into him and immediately fell unconscious, landing on the ground in front of the car.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how Kumar was on the way to Good Hope Hospital, in Sutton Coldfield, for her 12-hour shift which was due to start at 7pm. Her unsuspecting victim was walking to the Great Barr Aldi store, on the corner of Newton Road and Birmingham Road, when the collision occurred on March 6 last year.
He headed down Bromford Walk and was attempting to cross three lanes to reach the supermarket when Kumar ‘accelerated to get through traffic lights’. Prosecutor Jaspreet Dhaliwal said: “He was lifted quite significantly above the defendant’s Mercedes vehicle and thrown several metres in front of it.”
Emergency services rushed to the scene before paramedics took Mr Dort, who was unconscious, to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Medics discovered he suffered a number of injuries including a skull fracture, shoulder injury, genital injuries, significant bleeding to his abdomen, facial fractures, and fractures to his left arm and ribs.
He needed breathing aids and organ support while in the hospital’s intensive care unit, the court heard on Monday (June 27). Mr Dort ‘could not remember’ why he was in hospital when he woke up from a coma three weeks after the crash.
He also discovered his brother had died in the Czech Republic and he had missed his chance to say his last goodbyes. The victim was left unable to bathe himself, walk up the stairs unaided, lift his arm above his shoulder or chew certain foods like steak or pork.
‘Constant pain’ also left him with sleeping problems and he now has a fear of crossing the road. In a statement read to the court, Mr Dort said: “Since March 6, 2021, when I was hit by the car, my life has changed has turned around 180 degrees.
“Now I wonder if I will ever be able to return back to work. I feel very frustrated that I’m unable to do the things I was able to do before the accident.
“[I have] become more angry and short-tempered. I’m unable to process this. I keep asking myself if this will be the way my life will be from now.
“I have gone from a hardworking man to someone who is unable to work.” The victim – who moved to the UK from the Czech Republic – added: “Mentally, I’m struggling. My life is not what it used to be.
“I’m drinking just to distract myself from the events of that day.” Kumar, of Ray Hall Lane, Great Barr, told police she started braking as soon as she noticed Mr Dort crossing the road but did not look at her speedometer and was unsure if she was speeding.
Christopher Martin, defending, said the married woman is a ‘highly-regarded’ nurse and has been caring for patients for more than 20 years. She worked throughout the Covid pandemic at the ‘understaffed’ hospital and watched a number of her colleagues die after contracting the virus.
The nurse – who has been driving for 13 years – would also send hand-written cards to bereaved families who were unable to visit the hospital to bid farewell to loved ones due to restrictions. Mr Martin said the UK was experiencing a ‘second wave’ of Covid when the offence took place last year.
Kumar had slept for eight hours before leaving home to make the 30-minute journey from her Black Country home to the hospital at 6.20pm, he added. Mr Martin said: “She can count the number of times she has driven since March 2021 on one hand.
“She has dedicated more than two decades of her life to saving lives and helping those in need. She said to me that she is struggling to cope with what’s happened.”
Sentencing, Judge Barry Berlin said Mr Dort ‘could have died’ in the ‘dreadful’ crash. The judge said Kumar was ‘rushing to work’ and there was ‘no chance’ she would make her 12-hour shift in time.
He told the court: “If she was starting her shift at 7pm and this occurred at 6.50pm, she was not going to get to Good Hope Hospital in 10 minutes from that area. It would not happen.”
The judge added: “It was not just speed, it was speed towards a traffic light, it was speed to jump the lights and in an area that was highly crowded with traffic and people.” Kumar, who had no previous convictions, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
She was also handed a 28-month driving ban.