The mother-of-two tearfully apologized to the families of the victims when she drove her SUV into a group of children near an elementary school.
Young students and parents were standing outside Beatrix Potter Primary School in Openview, Earlsfield, southwest London, when they were hit by a Toyota Rav4 just after 3pm on 8 September 2020.
A seven-year-old boy, who was standing with his back to the car, was thrown into the air, while other six-year-old children were squeezed under the car.
Dolly Rincon-Aguilar, 39, from Wandsworth, south London, who picked up children from school, pleaded not guilty to eight counts of causing serious injury through reckless driving.
I want to be able to tell them that I’m sorry… The school needs to feel safe. It’s so frustratingDolly Rincon-Aguilar
The green car climbed onto the pavement, crashed into a tree and then into a wall before accelerating to the entrance of a school where a group of parents and children were standing, Kingston Crown Court heard.
The jurors were told that Rincón-Aguilar pressed the accelerator of her four-wheel drive car instead of the brake when she tried to stop the car while it was moving forward.
Testifying on Wednesday, the 39-year-old burst into tears as she apologized to the victims and their families.
Asked by defense counsel Ian Henderson QC how the incident affected her, she said: “I think it’s just that my heart is broken in two.
“I just wish that I could take away all the pain and all the disappointments.”
She added, “I want to tell them I’m sorry because that’s the only thing I want to tell them,” before giving the names of all those affected.
“The school needs to feel safe,” she said. “It’s so frustrating.”
Jurors learned that Rincón-Aguilar, who obtained her UK driver’s license to drive an automatic car in 2019, did not drink or do drugs and had no health problems or problems at home.
She also confirmed that there were no weather obstructions, no distractions such as the radio playing, and her mobile phone was in her pocket while the car went through inspection, taxes and insurance.
“When I go to school, I always take my time because there are kids around and it can be hard to see them,” she said.
“I took a few minutes to hit the road, making sure to look in the mirrors.
“I just put the car in drive and just pointed, checked the mirrors, checked the mirrors again and pointed and just tried to pull into the road.
“I gently pressed the accelerator pedal, and the next moment the car just went down the road, and it was so fast that it just crashed into a tree.
“It ended so quickly. We were heading towards the main gate and I thought, I don’t know, “Just stop.”
“When the car didn’t stop, I just thought: “handbrake, handbrake.”
The best way to describe Dolly is that she is an extraordinarily caring person.Alan Nolan
Rincón-Aguilar told the court that she later recognized one of the mothers, saying, “She was so scared.”
“This is your community, this is your school. I have been there for 10 years. This is the place you love,” she said.
The court heard that she spoke to the police without a lawyer. She said, “I decided to speak out because I was just there and going crazy.”
Breaking into tears, she added that it was “out of respect for the families.”
Witnesses described the defendant as a “cautious” and “conscious” person who acts with common sense and puts all children first, not just his own.
Rincon-Aguilar’s close friend Karen Duque said, “Dolly is the kindest, most generous and most selfless person I have ever met.”
Her father-in-law, Neil Livingston, described her as “honest, straightforward, rather shy” and “a sweet person”.
Another friend, Alan Nolan, said: “The best way I can describe Dolly is that she is an extraordinarily caring person.
“I have no reason to think she is 100% honest.”
Asked about the police’s conclusion of “incorrect pedaling” when she probably pressed the accelerator and not the brake, she said, “I think it’s okay.”
Paramedics and a London ambulance were called to the scene just after 3:10 p.m.
Eleven people, including seven children, received medical assistance on the spot, four adults and five children were taken to the hospital, two children were discharged.
Two victims had fractures of the face and skull, one required emergency care to remove a blood clot.
Some of the children were left with “serious” fractures of the leg, arm and eye socket.
The trial continues.