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Dundee driver caught drunk on motorway with unsecured children in car at height of Storm Arwen

Svetoslav Spasov, Queensferry Crossing
Spasov was caught drink-driving after passing over the Queensferry Crossing in Storm Arwen.

A motorist drove an overloaded car across the Queensferry Crossing while three times the drink-drive limit because he could not get a hotel during Storm Arwen.

Svetoslav Spasov had travelled from Dundee with his family to visit his brother in Edinburgh before travelling home in the early hours of November 27, when winds from the storm were at their height.

Shortly before 1am he was spotted driving erratically on the M8 and M90, including veering across the lanes and driving well below the speed limit.

The 39-year-old later told police his wife had told him to “drive slowly”.

Police also found that among the six people in Spasov’s Honda Accord, one was a six-year-old child who was perched on another adult’s knee.

Spasov insisted that doing so was not unsafe.

At Dunfermline Sheriff Court, Spasov was warned that he could have been imprisoned.

Veered across the road

Fiscal depute Zahrah Iqbal told the court Spasov was first spotted at around 12.40am.

She said: “(A witness) was travelling on the M8 when he saw a silver Honda Accord being driven erratically and at a slow speed while veering all over the road.

“The police were contacted and officers in Edinburgh responded.

“The vehicle continued to veer over the road and onto the hard shoulder, driving with hazards lights on and driving at inconsistent speeds.

“On a number of occasions it almost collided with the central reservation or other vehicles.

“After crossing the Queensferry Crossing and continuing north on the M90 the police officers saw the vehicle on the hard shoulder.

“It initially failed to respond to the blue lights (of the police car) but eventually came to a stop.

“The accused was in the driver’s seat and there were six occupants of the vehicle, including two children who were unrestrained in the rear – one in the middle and the second child on the knee of the rear nearside passenger.”

‘Ridiculous decision’

Ms Iqbal said all the adults in the car were under the influence of alcohol and Spasov was more than three times the limit.

When charged, he told police: “My wife advised me to drive slowly”.

He added: “If it was dangerous for the children I wouldn’t drive.”

Spasov drove as Storm Arwen wreaked havoc across Scotland.

Solicitor Alan Davie, defending, said Storm Arwen had ended the family’s plans to stay in a hotel overnight.

He said: “They found it very difficult to find a hotel where they could stay. The problem seems to have been Storm Arwen.

“They made a number of attempts to book accommodation.

“Thereafter, Mr Spasov made what he describes as the poor decision – but what can be categorised as a ridiculous decision – to drive back in the direction of Dundee with a view to stopping at a hotel.

“The decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol and in very bad weather conditions and with children in the car, having not checked that the children were wearing seatbelts was an incredibly poor decision.”

He said Spasov now accepts driving with unrestrained children was dangerous.

Banned and unpaid work imposed

Spasov, of Baxter Street, Dundee, admitted driving carelessly on the M8, M9 and M90 in November 27, and with excess alcohol (71mics/ 22).

He further admitted wilfully exposing a child in a manner likely to cause harm by allowing them to be carried unrestrained in the vehicle while he was under the influence of alcohol.

Sheriff Grant McCulloch blasted him for taking his car on the road during the storm and while drunk.

He said: “It was highly irresponsible of you to drive whilst three times the limit for driving with alcohol – in particular due to the difficult driving conditions.

“I’m told your vehicle was all over the road and you have rightly accepted responsibility for your driving as being careless.”

He banned Spasov from driving for 16 months and ordered him to carry out 125 hours of unpaid work.

Arwen aftermath: Pictures show devastation caused in Tayside and Fife

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