Driver escapes jail after crashing into roadworks and stealing a vehicle

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A man from Rhu who drove a vehicle while disqualified, crashed it into roadworks on the A85, stole another vehicle in Connel, and then abandoned it when it ran out of fuel near Benderloch, has escaped prison at Oban Sheriff Court.

Duncan Wood, 36, of Innisfree, Manse Brae, Rhu, pleaded guilty to six charges, beginning with driving between Benderloch and Rhu on the A828, A85, A819, A83 and A82 on November 3, 2021 while disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence.

Wood also admitted driving the vehicle dangerously, by failing to observe temporary traffic lights where roadworkers were present, and failing to keep proper control of the vehicle.

Wood’s vehicle collided with a road sign on the A85, west of Achnacloich Bridge, causing it to flip onto its side, causing damage to it and injury to himself.

Wood also pleaded guilty to further charges of stealing a vehicle in Connel on November 3, and then driving it without insurance on the A828 between Connel and Benderloch, while being disqualified.

He also admitted driving that vehicle dangerously on the same day and road, by driving it in a dangerous condition with two flat tyres and a low battery. The charge says he drove the vehicle on the metal wheel rims, and abandoned it when the battery died.

Sentencing, Sheriff Patrick Hughes told Wood on Wednesday April 6: ‘This was a very serious matter: an agglomeration of offences that would justify a custodial sentence.’

However, as a direct alternative to custody, Sheriff Hughes imposed a community payback order, consisting of 200 hours of unpaid work over 15 months, and supervision under the social work department for three years to address the causes of his behaviour.

Wood was also disqualified from driving for 35 months, had his licence endorsed, and was fined £200. For the offence of stealing a vehicle, he was given a restriction of liberty order, whereby he would be monitored by electronic tag for six months.

‘This is a last chance,’ Sheriff Hughes told Wood, ‘and I do hope you will take it.’