Driver disqualified from driving after high-speed pursuit in Fort William

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A Glasgow motorist involved in a Fort William police pursuit, which ended in a collision with another car, has been banned from driving after pleading guilty to driving dangerously under the influence of alcohol.

Tony McDonald, 30, appeared at Fort William Sheriff Court on Tuesday (February 27) and pleaded guilty drink driving and driving dangerously at excessive speeds on October 25, 2018, in that he drove on the wrong side of the road and overtook a number of vehicles; ran a red light; caused vehicles to take evasive action to avoid him; and eventually collided with another car on the A830 at Blar Mhor – all while more than four times over the alcohol limit.

At around 9pm on the night of the incident, police received a phonecall reporting a disturbance involving four men and a vehicle near the Ben Nevis Industrial Estate in Fort William. The men reportedly got into the vehicle and began driving erratically and at excessive speed.

Having left the station with blue lights on, the police encountered the vehicle at the Road to the Isles roundabout. They then followed the car, which accelerated away from the police westbound over the Lochy Bridge and then overtook a vehicle stopped at the traffic lights at Lochaber High School. The police were then unable to keep up with the vehicle as it sped up towards the Blar Mhor roundabout.

It was there that the vehicle encountered a car of American tourists who took evasive action but could not avoid a collision. The tourists’ car came to a halt on the footpath next to the road.

McDonald was seen by the police next to the vehicle and was eventually caught trying to flee the scene down a lane, a few metres into the under growth. Police were then able to prevent further escape by MacDonald, who was smelling of alcohol and unstable on his feet.

Police breathalysed McDonald and recorded an alcohol breath reading of  100mg of alcohol in 100mls of breath – more than four times the legal limit of 22mgs.

In mitigation, road traffic defence lawyer Graham Mann said: ‘The accused accepts that this is an extremely high reading and the driving was poor. The potential for catastrophic consequences is not lost on the accused.’

Sheriff Eilidh MacDonald ordered McDonald to pay a fine of £800 in relation to the charge of drink driving, while she disqualified him from driving for two years and ordered him to carry out a community pay back order for one year in relation to the dangerous driving charge.

She said: ‘This could have resulted in very serious injuries to you and others. The driving was atrocious and entirely dangerous.’