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Learner caused fireball crash driving on wrong side of the road

Perth Sheriff Court.
Perth Sheriff Court.

A learner driver caused a fireball crash when he motored along the wrong side of a busy Kinross-shire road in a stolen BMW and ploughed into an oncoming vehicle.

Three people were hurt in the head-on collision, including a woman who suffered internal bleeding and spent four months in hospital.

The smash happened on the A977 Kinross to Kincardine road, near Windy Edge Cottages, on August last year.

Perth Sheriff Court heard former Dollar Academy pupil Ross Broomfield, who took his mum’s car without permission, was in a “buoyant mood” and “full of beans” after overcoming a serious illness. He had also recently finished school and was excited about becoming a student at Strathclyde University.

The 18-year-old admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and has been banned from the road for two years.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said the outcome could have been far more tragic and told Broomfiled he was lucky his case had not ended up at the high court, where he would have almost certainly been received a custodial sentence.

He said: “You are a young man who comes before this court with excellent references and I very much suspect that on the night in question there was an element of teenage euphoria and even a feeling of indestructibility.”

The sheriff added: “The consequences for you and for the others by your actions are such that a number of lives could have been ruined. Any one of these people could have lost their lives.

“It goes without saying this could have been a tragedy, but it would also have been tragic for you if you went to the high court and lost your liberty for a number of years.

“I doubt you would ever have recovered from that.”

Broomfield, of White Wisp Gardens, Dollar, further admitted taking the car without consent, and driving without insurance and on a provisional licence without L plates or a supervising driver.

Depute fiscal Katrina Dalrymple said Broomfield had been out with friend Ramsay Bryce when he decided to take his mother’s car at around 11.30pm.

Motorist Allan Donaldson, who was travelling to St Andrews, said he saw the headlights of Broomfield’s oncoming vehicle.

“It was on the wrong side of the road,” Ms Dalrymple said. “He was unable to take evasive action and the cars collided head on.”

The court heard that, moments before the crash, Mr Bryce looked up from his phone and noticed bushes “unusually close to his side of the car.”

Mr Donaldson’s Renault Laguna burst into flames. He was seen getting out of the vehicle and collapsing onto the grass verge.

Mr Donaldson escaped with a fractured wrist but his passenger Khristine Elma spent months in hospital.

Broomfield, who the court heard was “full of remorse”, had helped passers-by as they raced to the aid the injured people.

When police arrived on the scene, Broomfield confessed all and told them he had been drinking. However, he was breathalysed and found not to be over the limit.

Both cars were written off, the court heard.

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