Perthshire Advertiser

Danger driver dozed off and crashed car

- COURT REPORTER

A £4000 silver Vauxhall Corsa was written off after a Perth man apparently fell asleep at the wheel and smashed into the stationary car.

Forty-seven-year-old James McCaffrey lost the front bumper of his vehicle and stopped to pick it up before driving off.

But police witnessed another episode of dangerous driving shortly afterwards when he was seen swerving across the road “in an erratic manner.”

The accused was given an expensive wake-up call at Perth Sheriff Court when he was fined a total of £2400 and disqualifi­ed for two years.

He will also have to pass the extended test before he can drive again.

McCaffrey, of Glenearn Road, admitted a catalogue of dangerous driving on the A85 Crieff-Perth road, near Methven, and on the A84, between Methven and Crieff

Road, on May 27, 2020.

He also drove his vehicle while it was in a “dangerous condition,” failed to stop and give his name and address and did not report the accident to police within 24 hours.

Depute fiscal Sarah Wilkinson said the accused was the owner of a blue Vauxhall Astra.

About 11.15am, a witness heard a “loud bang” which sounded like cars smashing.

The Vauxhall’s front bumper was seen lying on the road and there was damage to the other vehicle which was parked outside a house.

“The witness observed the accused pick up the bumper and place it in the rear of his vehicle.

“He walked up and down the street before he got into his vehicle and drove off.”

Another witness was driving on the A85 about 15 minutes later when the blue Vauxhall accelerate­d past.

“It was swerving all over the road and at one point it crossed over the white line, onto the opposing carriagewa­y,” stated the fiscal.

Police were alerted and they later saw the accused’s car swerving in an erratic manner.

He was pulled over and when officers spoke to him his “speech was slurred and he appeared unsteady on his feet.”

But drink and drug tests proved negative. Officers also noticed the missing bumper and damage to the headlights.

“He gave no explanatio­n other than he had had a busy week and felt tired,” added Ms Wilkinson.

In a letter to the court, pleading guilty to the charges, McCafferty said: “I wasn’t drunk or away with it on drugs on the day I smashed my car but shouldn’t have been driving.”

He had been suffering from sleep deprivatio­n for about a month before the incident and had not been “coping well” with the lockdown.

“I was also grieving the loss of one of my best friends,” he added.

He had been attending a course in Crieff and decided to drive.

He said: “I hardly slept the night before and to be honest I can’t remember much after that.

“Thankfully no-one was seriously hurt. If I could go back in time I would not have taken my car to Crieff that day and am truly sorry for my irresponsi­ble actions.”

Solicitor Billy Somerville, for McCafferty, said “He does appear to have been dozing off.”

Imposing the substantia­l financial penalties, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told him: “It isn’t a momentary lapse - it falls seriously below the level required of a competent driver.

“Alcohol and substances have been excluded but clearly you were in no condition to drive...and were a danger to other road users.”

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