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‘Every driver’s worst nightmare’: Drink-drive wedding singer caused head-on smash in Fife

Johnathon Collins was jailed at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

A wedding singer caused a head-on collision after driving home drunk from a gig and “swerving to miss a fox”.

Johnathon Collins left the four occupants of an oncoming minibus seriously injured, leaving one woman in intensive care for a week.

The crash happened in the early hours of the morning, near Cairneyhill, in June 2019.

Collins, 36, who still requires crutches more than two years after the crash, wept as he was jailed for two years at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

Terrifying moments before head-on crash

Fiscal depute Lee-Anne Hannan told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court the accident happened on the A985 near Cairneyhill, approximately 500 metres from the Cairneyhill roundabout, near Dunfermline.

It was wet and dark.

She said Collins was at the wheel of a Nissan Qashqai and William Reid was driving a Ford Explorer minibus with three passengers on board.

“At around 1.20am Mr Reid was driving eastbound near the locus.

“He observed a vehicle come round the corner with full beam lights on.

“He flashed his lights at the vehicle but there was no response.

drink drive wedding singer
Collins arrives at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, still using crutches.

“The witnesses observed the vehicle coming towards them in the eastbound lane and Mr Reid, realising he was going to collide with the accused’s vehicle, attempted to take evasive action by swerving into the westbound lane.

“However, the accused’s vehicle also swerved back across the carriageway and a head-on collision occurred.”

Mr Reid and two female passengers were trapped in the minibus.

A male passenger escaped but could not open the doors to help his travelling companions.

Fox excuse from Collins

Another motorist, Andrew Masterton, came across the crash shortly afterwards and dialled 999.

He later told police Collins told him at the scene he had been carrying out an overtaking manoeuvre.

All five were taken to various hospitals, with the most seriously injured woman spending a week in intensive care in Edinburgh with injuries, including a spinal fracture and a broken hip.

drink drive wedding singer
The A985 Cairneyhill roundabout, where the accident happened.

Collins, who had also been taken to hospital, told police officers he had swerved to avoid a fox.

A blood reading taken several hours after the crash found he was almost three times the legal drink-drive limit.

Accused expressed remorse

Solicitor Paul Mullen, defending, said Collins’ band had been playing at a wedding and he was on his way home.

He said: “He indicated at the outset to express his deep and sincere remorse.

“He feels for the victims of this offence, who received serious injury and a nasty shock as a result of being in this road traffic incident.

“Mr Collins takes full responsibility for his actions – actions that can be taken as reckless and highly irresponsible on his part.

“He’s wracked with guilt over his actions.”

He said Collins had started the 12-Step programme to recover from ongoing alcohol problems.

“He had been drinking in the days and night before and on the night in question he had attended a wedding to work as a wedding singer.

“He doesn’t recall drinking that night.

“A fellow band member of Mr Collins is also a police officer and said he could not remember him drinking, either.

“But it’s fully accepted by Mr Collins that a significant amount of alcohol had been taken in the run up to this offence.”

He said Collins had pled guilty to spare the minibus occupants the ordeal of a trial, adding “He believes they’ve suffered enough.”

‘Every driver’s worst nightmare’

Collins, of Whinfield Drive, East Kilbride, admitted causing serious injury to William Reid, Mary Jones, Mark Jones and Gillian Sneddon by driving dangerously on the A985 near Cairneyhill on June 2 2019.

He further admitted driving with 148mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, almost three times the legal limit of 50mg.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Eric Brown told Collins: “You are the author of your own misfortune”.

Incidents such as these may be called ‘accidents’; in my view, wrongly so.”

Sheriff Eric Brown

Noting Collins’ blood was tested for alcohol three and a half hours after the crash, he added: “It’s not for me to speak about what the alcohol reading might have been at the time of the crash.

“The people referred to were in another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction and they faced every driver’s worst nightmare – a vehicle driven by a drunk driver coming towards them on the wrong side of the road.

“Incidents such as these may be called ‘accidents’; in my view, wrongly so.

“What happened was caused by your manner of driving and the fact you were intoxicated.

“It was a conscious decision on your part to drive in an intoxicated state with the intention of going all the way to your home in East Kilbride.”

In addition to his custodial sentence, Collins was banned from driving for four years.

  • The original version of this article stated Collins had been playing with wedding band The Brammers on the night in question. We have since learned he was with another band that night. We apologise for the mistake.