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A9 drunk driver caught after running out of fuel

Perth Sheriff Court.
Perth Sheriff Court.

A drink driver who ploughed through terrible weather conditions on the A9 was caught out after his car ran out of fuel.

Philip Stewart was behind the wheel of his wife’s mobility vehicle when it spluttered and came to a halt as he passed Dunkeld.

He left it, hazards flashing, to walk down the side of the road to the nearest village in search of assistance.

Bear Scotland winter maintenance crews heading south towards Perth spotted his abandoned Vauxhall Mokka at around 2am.

They called the police out of concern for the vehicle’s driver, only for Stewart to return as they waited for officers to arrive.

Depute Fiscal Michael Sweeney told Perth Sheriff Court Stewart had immediately given them cause to have concerns about his fitness to drive.

“He told the Bear Scotland crew that he had run out fuel and had walked to the next village for help,” Mr Sweeney said.

“One of the witnesses could clearly detect the smell of alcohol from him and informed police officers of this on their arrival.

“They administered a roadside breath test, which Mr Stewart failed.”

He was subsequently taken to Perth police station where a second breath test revealed a reading that was more than four times the legal limit.

Stewart, of Devonway, Clackmannan, admitted driving with excess alcohol on the A9, between Inverness and Perth, on December 13, 2017.

His reading was 99 mics. The legal limit is just 22 mics.

Solicitor Paul Ralph said: “This misjudgement has been calamitous for him but also for his wife who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and has seen her mobility vehicle seized.

“There is little that I can say to mitigate his behaviour.”

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said he would exercise leniency as it was a first conviction for Stewart but cautioned him that he was guilty of a serious offence and that his reading had been “quite high”.

Stewart, 52, was banned from the road for two years and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

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