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Pub pick-up turned into 'horrific incident' in Highland crash

By Ali Morrison

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Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald heard the case at Inverness Justice Centre.
Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald heard the case at Inverness Justice Centre.

A teenage driver took a bend too fast and collided with a campervan, injuring his best pal at the same scene where he heroically saved the life of a young child several years earlier.

The collision happened on the night of Saturday, June 4, 2022 as 18-year-old Aidan Macrae, who turned 20 on Christmas Day, of Broadley, Nairn was approaching the main road at the junction with the B9092 from Ardersier.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard that, ironically, a 14-year-old Macrae had rescued a boy who had tried to cross the road with traffic approaching at that same location.

Fiscal depute Emily Hood told Inverness Sheriff Court that Macrae had three passengers in his Ford Fiesta which failed to negotiate a sharp right-hand bend and mounted a verge.

"The vehicle came out of the junction into the path of a Fiat Ducato campervan which collided with the offside of the accused's car," Ms Hood went on.

She said both vehicles were extensively damaged and a passenger in each had to be removed by rescue services.

Macrae sustained a fractured collarbone and one of his passengers sustained a broken jaw which required the insertion of a metal plate.

An elderly woman in the campervan suffering from a broken femur, broken ribs and bruising.

Ms Hood said: "She sustained a scar to her right leg and her mobility was impacted. She requires a stick to walk and support her balance and has had to have several surgeries to treat the injuries to her leg and hip."

Macrae admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving at excessive speed.

Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald heard that Macrae was travelling within the statutory speed limit but too fast for the approach to the junction and overshot.

Defence solicitor advocate Clare Russell said: "The passengers in the car were all his friends and they remain his friends. What he thought was a good deed picking them up from the pub turned into a horrific incident.

"It was caused by a combination of inexperience, distraction and going too fast for the sharp bend although he was travelling within the speed limit. The irony of this is it was at the same section of road where he saved the life of a child crossing the road.

"That child's father has written a letter of reference to the court."

Ms Russell went on: "This offence was 18 months ago and since then he has sought to drive in a safer and more careful manner. He lost his job as a result of this incident but to his credit has found other employment as a trainee field engineer.

"However, the inevitable disqualification for this offence is likely to affect his future prospects. He made a terrible mistake and won't be in court again."

Ms Russell said that the background report which had been prepared on her client suggested that supervision would not be required and she urged the sheriff not to impose unpaid hours. She said Macrae was able and willing to pay a substantial fine which he would pay himself.

However Sheriff Macdonald disagreed, ordered Macrae to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work as an alternative to custody with one year's supervision and banned him from driving for 18 months. He must also resit the extended driving test of competency.

She told Macrae: "This has the flavour of someone showing off to his friends. It was a terrible accident with terrible consequences."

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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