A drunken motorist was more than seven times the legal limit when he brought his car to a sudden halt on the A9.
Donald Macaulay inexplicably hit the brakes as he travelled in a line of rush hour traffic through rural Perthshire.
Concerned drivers parked up and ran to his aid, fearing there was a medical emergency.
They found his vehicle strewn with tell-tale lager cans.
The 65-year-old, from Inverness, appeared at Perth Sheriff Court and admitted driving while nearly seven-and-a-half times the permitted alcohol limit on October 12 2021.
He also pled guilty to diving his Audi A4 carelessly and without consideration for other road users by stopping while in a live lane of traffic.
Sheriff Craig McSherry said it was lucky Macaulay’s actions did not result in a more tragic outcome.
“I don’t need to tell you that drink-driving is a crime which is acutely dangerous to the public at large,” the sheriff told Macaulay.
“The A9 is known as a fast road that carries heavy traffic.
“The manner of your driving on this particular day was a matter of great concern, for obvious reasons.
“It is only by a matter of luck, and perhaps the awareness of other drivers, that there was not more significant consequences caused by your actions.”
The sheriff told Macaulay: “Sentencing in a case such as this is extremely difficult.
“The level of alcohol involved here is of such magnitude that custody has to be considered.
“But I step away from that because I am told you are addressing the root cause of your problem – alcohol addiction.”
The court heard Macaulay, of Bishop’s View, was not able to pay a significant fine.
Sheriff McSherry disqualified him from driving for five years and three months.
He was also placed on supervision for three years to “address underlying issues”.
A complete stop
Fiscal depute Elizabeth Hodgson told the court: “At about 5.30pm, the accused was travelling north on the A9, near Murthly.
“A motorist behind the accused observed that his vehicle was being driven in an erratic manner.
“She saw it swerving across the carriageway.”
Ms Hodgson said: “Shortly after this, the accused’s vehicle came to a complete stop in lane one of the dual carriageway.
“The witness stopped her vehicle on the grass verge, in front of the accused’s car.
“She went to see if she could help the accused.”
The court heard two health workers arrived on the scene and went to Macaulay’s stationary car.
“They observed empty lager cans and an empty bottle in the accused’s vehicle.”
Police were contacted and Macaulay was breathalysed at the roadside.
Officers recorded a reading of 164 mics in 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 22 mics.
Solicitor David Holmes, defending, told the court Macaulay is working to address his difficulties with alcohol.
He said he was receiving treatment as part of a structured deferred sentence imposed at Inverness Sheriff Court earlier this year.
The court heard he attacked his partner during a four-day drinking binge.
Macaulay grabbed the woman by the neck and threatened to kill her as she dialled 999.
“That will be the last thing you will do,” he told her.
Macaulay appeared at the Highland court and admitted a single charge of engaging in a course of abusive behaviour towards his partner in January this year.