Driver’s rampage that could have killed boy
COURT TOLD HOW MAN INHALED GAS THEN DROVE MERCEDES
A DRIVER high after inhaling gas canisters in his Mercedes sent a schoolboy waiting to cross the road flying into the air after falling into a stupor.
Daniel Peddie was out of control behind the wheel after consuming the compressed gas and careered over a grassed area and into a 13-year-old standing with his bike.
Shocking CCTV footage played in court shows the moment the red Mercedes sends the boy flying – and only his helmet and good fortune saved him from serious injury or death.
A court heard Peddie, who works for his dad’s business, had a previous conviction for driving while unfit in 2014.
But now the 32-year-old, who admitted dangerous driving, has walked free from Newcastle Crown Court on a suspended sentence.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister said Peddie went to Costco, on Mandela Way, Gateshead, around noon on July 17 last year, where he bought six 300ml compressed gas canisters.
He returned to his car and some time later members of the public reported concerns about him. A shop worker approached the Mercedes and saw him inhaling gas. Peddie appeared “oblivious” to their presence, despite them shouting and even opening the door.
After spotting gas canisters in the passenger footwell the worker was concerned about his fitness to drive and so took the car key from him.
He continued inhaling, briefly got out, then used another set of keys to start the engine and drive off.
Police were informed but soon afterwards, another witness saw him parked up on nearby Handy Drive and he had his head tilted back and his mouth open. Around 3.50pm, a man was driving along Kingsway North, Team Valley, when he noticed the red Mercedes in front of him and saw it jolt towards a kerb a couple of times.
Mr Pallister said: “The defendant was seen to be leaning left as if trying to reach for something from the footwell and the vehicle then hit the nearside kerb then corrected itself again.
“The defendant was approaching a roundabout junction, turned a sharp left, mounted the kerb, drove across a grassed area and collided with a 13-year-old who was stood with his bike, waiting to cross the road.
“He was thrown into the air and landed on the ground, hitting his head on the ground.”
Peddie’s car then continued into the opposite carriageway, colliding with a car which was stationary in a queue of traffic and that man’s car was knocked back into another vehicle.
He was found to have been inhaling “Dust Off” compressed gas which contains diflouroethane, which can cause euphoria, amnesia, lead to a state of stupor and drowsiness, loss of consciousness or death.
The 13-year-old, who was lucky to escape with aches and pains and bruising and whose bike and helmet had to be replaced, said in a victim impact statement: “I feel scared, I thought I was in a safe place. I feel scared of drivers on the road or being near a road. If I had not been wearing a helmet I could have been killed.”
Peddie, of Henson Close, Washington, was sentenced to nine months suspended for two years, with a community order, 150 hours’ unpaid work, £300 compensation and a three-year driving ban. Recorder John Thackray told him: “Nobody who has seen that footage could be anything other than shocked by the sight of the young boy flying up into the air, over your bonnet.”
Peddie had been convicted of driving while unfit in 2014 after hitting two cars in a car park while he had diazepam and codeine in his system. The court heard he had been traumatised by the death of his brother and John Wilkinson, defending, said there was another side to him.
“There are a number of glowing and extremely helpful character references,” he said. “The defendant’s father, who owns the business referred to, is sitting in court and he can give evidence about the defendant’s role in the company and, more particularly, how if the worse were to happen today and he were to lose his liberty, how that will have an impact on the company. He has got a responsible job within the company, he is a service manager.”
Nobody could be anything other than shocked by the sight of the young boy flying up into the air, over your bonnet.