Young driver’s crash ‘every parent’s nightmare’ says sheriff

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An inexperienced young driver lost control of his car on a bend when driving at speed, rolling it repeatedly.

Twenty-one year old Ryan MacDougall and his two passengers were all taken to hospital after the accident early in the morning of September 19 last year; none of the young men was seriously injured and they were not kept in hospital.

They were all cut and grazed; MacDougall injured his wrist, one passenger needed staples in a 5cm head wound and the other had a swollen hand and an injured shoulder.

At the town’s sheriff court last week MacDougall, of 12 Hazeldean Crescent, Oban, pleaded guilty to driving dangerously and at an excessive speed whilst approaching a sharp bend on the A85 near to Dunbeg, losing control of the vehicle so that it entered the opposing carriageway, repeatedly overturned and entered a field.

The car came to rest on its wheels.

Sheriff Patrick Hughes said incidents like this were the nightmares of many families as soon as young men and women obtain driving licenses.

‘Three young lives could have been lost because of this,’ he said as he fined MacDougall £670, saying that he had considered custody. MacKinnon was banned from driving for 14 months and must pass the extended test before he can regain a licence.

Procurator fiscal James Dunbar said the accident happened on the sharp bend, travelling west, after Poppies Garden Centre near Dunbeg. MacKinnon’s speed was said to be around 80mph.

When charged he told police: ‘I put my life and others in danger, I am very sorry.’

Defence agent Jane McLaren said that MacDougall’s inexperience had led to the accident; he had passed his driving test just before lockdown, reducing the reasons for driving.

‘He was a very inexperienced driver at the time; he had only really been driving for three to four weeks at that time,’ she said, adding: ‘he panicked when he started to approach the bend and braked too hard.’

MacDougall was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £40.